How To Stop Procrastinating and Becoming 10x More Productive
I used to be a master procrastinator and I hated it. Here was my solution.
“It’s not that we have short lives, it’s just that we waste a lot of it.” -Casey Neistat
I believe the two biggest problems that made me procrastinate so much (and that I still battle with) are: distractions and multitasking.
Our habit of constantly checking our phones, scrolling through twitter while watching TV and constantly getting distracted by notifications, has made us become really bad at reaching a deep state of focus.
We can’t live our lives without our smartphones. They have become a huge part of our lives and it would be impossible to completely ignore them. It would probably be extremely healthy to have a phone-free day but currently I don’t believe it is possible. It is an extraordinarily useful tool, but that is what it should only be, a tool. I believe these 4 steps will definitely help you on your way on becoming a lot more productive and a lot less of a procrastinator. Let’s begin!
Step 1: Delete all distractions…
- Start being aware of your phone habits and try not to multitask. I believe a habit of multitasking definitely will destroy your ability to really focus on something for a prolonged period of time.
- Only use your phone when you need to. Designate 5–10 minutes when you are allowed to use your phone and then put it away. Eventually you will stop spontaneously picking up your phone all the time to check if anything new has happened.
- Turn off all unnecessary notifications. Do you really need to know when someone likes your picture on Instagram? Don’t think so.
Step 2: Planning is key…
- Set up goals. What do you need to accomplish? Make sure the goals you set are realistic so you don’t feel they are too big to accomplish. Otherwise you will end up procrastinating. (Trust me, I’ve been there). If you have a big goal then divide it in to smaller goals that are more achievable.
- Create a daily to-do list and always start with the toughest and most boring things. Because then when you accomplish these tough things your day will only get easier and easier.
- When something small and boring pops up, get it done immediately. Not in 15 minutes. Not tomorrow. Right now. I know your inner procrastinator will do everything in its power to make you do something else but that is the reason you have to do it immediately. Before that inner devil realizes that you now have a boring task to do and thinks it is a much better idea to stay in bed and watch Netflix for the rest of the day. Crush it before it becomes a pile of small (but boring) to-dos that you will say you DEFINITELY are going to do tomorrow.
Step 3: Practice your ability to focus…
- A great technique to practice your focus is the Pomodoro Technique: Work for 25 minutes then stop whatever you are doing and do something completely different for 2-5 minutes. Get up, do some jumping jacks or walk around for a bit. Now repeat that process but on the fourth break you rest for 15–30 minutes instead of 2-5. Working for 25 minutes is relatively easy. The hard part is to not extend the 2-5 minute break. You can’t give yourself any slack or it is extremely easy that those 5 minutes will turn into 7 minutes, that then will turn into 10, 20, 30 minutes and then you will have completely lost it.
- Remember to put your phone somewhere far away so you can catch yourself thinking about checking Instagram before you are already scrolling through pictures of cute dogs.
- Start being aware and try to notice when you lose your focus or feel like doing something you are not supposed to do. Then re-direct your focus back to what you needed to accomplish and try to think about why you are doing it. Try to remember that nice feeling of accomplishing all those things on your to-do list or finishing that tough task. Think about the fun things you can do after you are done. Hopefully it will motivate you to stay productive.
Step 4: Execution is everything…
You can read how many articles you want on how to stop procrastinating or how you become more productive but at some point you have to start. I know it is hard. It is so much easier to keep watching your favorite show on Netflix but you are reading this article for a reason. You have a goal and to reach that goal you have to start working. Start right now, today, right this second.
In my opinion the two most important parts of this process is execution and self-awareness. Because when you start being aware then you can start to change. That is maybe the most difficult step too because of one reason, you have to start. Make it happen. Don’t think: “I will do it tomorrow”. Do it now. The changes you make will eventually turn into habits that certainly will improve your productivity. Good luck, and remember…
It starts with you. -Gary Vaynerchuck