How often do you feel like you should be doing something important? You have a paper to finish, and the deadline is closing in. But you are not doing it, and you cannot exactly tell why. There may be many reasons. For example, you can’t stop thinking about other tasks that wait for you after you finish the first one. Or something constantly gets in your way. Or there’s this funny video called ‘Top 10 Fails’ that your friend just posted on Facebook. A must see!
Even though your chances to be featured in such a video equal practically zero, you are not failing less than this poor biker, who just crushed his balls on the rail. It’s just the different kind of pain that you feel when you realize that half of your day is gone but not even quarter of your work is done. Why is that? Because you can’t organize your time properly.
Well, we might be able to help you! However, the most important part of becoming a master of the productive time consumption is a strong will. You have to believe in yourself and never let your lazy, procrastinating part of the brain take control. Practice and develop good habits. Once you do, you will be surprised how much time you will have to get lazy without getting mad about it!
1. Find what’s important and focus on it!
People tend to jump from one urgent task to another. Most of the students could tell you a story how right before the exams they managed to clean their whole apartments, throw out rubbish, prepare an elaborate meal, go for a jog, etc. Our brains cheat and turn our attention to the less important but urgent tasks, as they want to avoid doing the big one because they are afraid of it.
This tendency may turn into a fully-fledged procrastination, and we may start checking Facebook or some blogs or YouTube channels that we like, while the important work is forgotten. Fighting this is hard and requires a lot of practice. Treat your will like a muscle – train it. Start low, the bigger is your problem, the harder it will be to get rid of it. Write on a piece of paper the thing that you absolutely have to do and take a look at it every now and then. Once you get to work, it only takes a couple of minutes to get into ‘the flow’ and perform the task without getting distracted. Also, take a break once in a while, let your mind relax, and in return receive the boost in productivity. Try the Pomodoro Technique.
2. Block the distractions.
First, establish what gets in the way of you performing your work. The most popular are:
- Internet – if you work on a computer, you know that the internet connection can be your biggest ally, as well as an enemy. You can find practically every information that you need on the web. How is it, that we tend to look for something unpractical instead? Entertainment will always win when the mind is weak! However, we can help our will by blocking the websites that we often visit and waste time on. There are many ways to block the website that we know we shouldn’t be checking during our working time. Check them out here.
- Mobile Phone – Another powerful enemy of your productivity. There are so many apps, games, and other stuff that you can spend your time with (and in practically any place you want!) that it is hard no to do it. Imagine a situation – you are working on something, but suddenly you feel like you should check your FB account because you were waiting for a message from a friend. Well, you do so, and the message is not there, but while you have your phone, you can check your Twitter or Instagram or some other site as well, why not? How many times have you caught yourself in an endless loop like this? Keep your phone away. Answer phone calls but don’t take it for no reason. Give yourself about 30-45 minutes every day to check the social media/blogs/websites, and that’s it!
- Television – This is a personal opinion, but it’s best not to have TV at home. The internet provides the same entertainment, but the news is much fresher on the web, and the Netflix does the rest 😉 You just be careful with all those great series, one per day is enough (one episode, not one season!)
There is this software that can be very helpful when it comes to controlling how we spend our time. It’s called TimeCamp, and we produce it! TimeCamp monitors all the computer activities we perform and provides us with the detailed analysis of those. We know exactly where our hours disappear, and we can change the bad habits more easily.
3. Strengthen your character
Remember that you are the one who makes decisions concerning your life. Do not let others tell you what to do. You can, of course, take their advice and discuss their propositions but the final decision should always be yours.
- Be assertive – learn to say no. If you are good at something, never do it for free. If you don’t have time to help somebody, just say it straight. Perhaps some (false) friends will turn away from you, but you will earn the respect of the rest.
- Prioritize – You are not the hero of the M. Night Shyamalan movie, and you can’t split 😛 Always choose those tasks and make those decisions, which you are sure are the most important at the moment.
- In the worst case scenario, ignore – if there’s too much on your shoulders, you may have to delete some of the tasks from your schedule. Just make sure those are the least important (for example, better write this email for your boss, than go for a run!)
We’ve shared some simple tricks that should be helpful when it comes to time organizing. As we mentioned at the beginning, the most important factor that will help you nail your time management is a strong will. Use these techniques and strengthen it every day. It may take some time, but you will surely notice the improvement. This is your path to a better life, take it! 😉