How I went from Pro-procrastinator to Pro-productive in 5 simple steps
I should probably begin with stating my credentials before I impart my wisdom on how to be super-productive. OK, well..! I confess I used to be a pro-procrastinator, you would ever meet! Let it be from finishing my report to cleaning that ‘one drawer I wanted to clean since big-bang’ took me umpteen cycles of planning re-planning and re-re-planning….and …you guessed it right..without ever executing any! At this point, you probably are thinking what makes this lame procrastinator think that he could advise me on productivity (eye rolling is acceptable gesture ;) here). I would say think again and continue. You won’t regret, I promise! Maybe I read it later…you say to yourself…Nope…No…Hey don’t procrastinate. Read it, like now!
I was the worst hit by my own procrastination and had to invent the solution which was eating up into my potential to be great at anything. As an old saying goes ‘necessity is the mother of all inventions’ I had to deal with this problem of chronic procrastination. And my profound lifelong experience of procrastinating came to my help here, I knew the problem all that too well to not find a solution for it. I would try to put it in a stepwise manner because all of us love to follow bullet points easily!
1. Plan for productivity.
Being a neuroscientist, I read a lot on neuroscience and psychology and its enticing to apply bits and pieces of this academic knowledge to real life human behaviours. Start your day with a fixed routine and once it's ingrained in your mind and body you shall follow it forever!
Once you get up, drink a glass of water to hydrate yourself and work out or meditate. Meditation helps you to be mindful so this is the best time to plan your day.. Go ahead and plan for a productive day! Scientific studies show that if we write down our goals then we are more likely to try to fulfil them than having them just in our ‘minds’. So feel free to use tools like Google calendar, Any.do, or Trello apps if you love the visual interface. DO write down your goals for the day..broken down into small doable chunks.
2. Be the ‘NOW’ person and ‘execute’
Now you have made a plan for a productive day. What’s next!
Jane: Man we are so lazy..we need to finish presentation before evening
Tom: No we are good..we have time, we will play for half an hour..!
after 5 hours of PlayStation (which flew by as half an hour)
Jane: Presentation, we should do something about it
Tom: Yep we should..
Jane: When …in one hour just see these cute kitties eating burritos on YouTube.
Tom: OMG kitties!
(….3 hours later and after 40 related YouTube videos!)
Jane: Man we are scre*ed, It is already evening
I am sure you can relate to this conversation, sound familiar to you..good. Next time when you notice you’ve been procrastinating and later found yourself convincing that ‘it’s okay, you got more time until deadline’, STOP there and tell yourself these three magical words ‘DO IT NOW’!
All you need to do is start the task and your human instinct makes you conclude it!
3. Take breaks and reward yourself
Do take breaks periodically and reward yourself with something you love!
4. Kill the distractions
The best way to focus and avoid distraction which works for me is to kill the source. My phone is the biggest culprit here and might be in your case as well. I am not asking to kill £800 iPhone..just put it on flight mode and hide it in a drawer. That’s it! Believe me, after initial withdrawal symptoms you won’t miss it..at all! Plus you can always use it as a reward in your break times!
5. Account for the day
Before you go to your good night’s beauty sleep, have a look at your to-do list and see how well you did. The day you manage to reach your goal will make your dreams sweeter plus you know what you are already on your way to be productive..one step at a time!
I know you have read many guides to productivity, perhaps never managed to act on any. Every one of us yearns to be ‘productive’ but a very few achieve it. Why? Timely execution makes the winner. What you want to advise is mine but… the choice is yours! I know, by the time you’re convinced that you should stop procrastinating and start being productive (most likely you already were convinced of all this) all I wanted to this was from when? from ‘NOW’!
Thanks for reading. Do share your experiences in the comment sections. Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.