Procrastination Fascination

Do you procrastinate?
I have never ever ever ever ever ever…..been a procrastinator ……..until recently.   I have found myself whiling away the time gardening, puttering around my  house, hiking, biking and frankly behaving like an alien has taken over my body and mind.   There is part of me that loves it as it is so FUN, and then there is the “normal” part of me that is horrified that I am wasting even one second of my precious work day while my kids are in school.
Well, I have had to rein myself in and get back to the tasks at hand. I want to share some of the things I do to avoid the act of procrastinating while sometimes really wishing I still was!!!
The first thing I do to get back on track is to get up early (like 6 am :O)) and have my coffee while I answer emails, read the paper, read (or skim) any online subscriptions I receive (sometimes they give you great ideas first thing when your brain is not clogged up) and then make my kids lunches! I do all this in one hour.
Once I start my actual workday after the kids are in school (and I possibly exercise) I attack in hour intervals – it is hard for most people to stay focused for longer than that. Set your timer…..seriously!
  1. Make a list of the most important 10 things that YOU personally have to do yourself.
  2. Make a list of the next 10 things that someone else “could” do for you if you desired to job it out. These things can usually wait a bit.
  3. Spend the first 2 hours of your day answering email, doing any office-y things like processing orders, accounting, emails etc. Just get it out of the way. ONLY do that for the first 2 hours. (if you are like me, you got one hour done already at the crack of dawn).
  4. Start working on your to item task list spending one hour at a time and just keep plowing through. If you are designing that day, then just do that and don’t let other things distract you.
  5. Take a 15 minute break every hour. I suggest walking around, shake a leg, get a snack, and if you must……check your email but only for 15 minutes.
  6. Be nice to yourself for 30 minutes each day and procrastinate!
I think you will be surprised at how much you get done each day by chunking your time and tasks into bite size morsels……
If you have other great ideas – share them in the comments….love to know about it.
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    Written by Sarah Shaw

    There are 6 comments

  • Thank you, Sarah! The timing on this was SO perfect! I got your email when I should be doing “other” things and it made me realize that I MUST get serious about getting MORE accomplished in a day than I am getting done.
    I am going to implement this schedule and see how it goes.
    Love you!!

  • Malcolm says:

    Excellent advice, Sarah. One tip I found useful, back in my Civil Service days, was to identify those times of day when I was best at certain types of activity. So, there would be times when my creativity was at a maximum, and that’s when I would tackle the jobs that needed really creative thought. Whenever possible, this was best aligned with those times of day when I was least likely to be interrupted. Which brings me to another point… I found it really useful, over a period of a week or two, to compile a chart of what tasks I was working on, and when – a sort of time-and-motion summary – but with a column for identifying interruptions (what they were, and how long they lasted). Then when I had a reasonable set of data to analyse, I worked through it and planned how best to avoid such interruptions in the future. It wasn’t always possible to do so, but this certainly did reduce their impact quite considerably, by being prepared for them in advance. 🙂

  • stephanie- says:

    Great practical advice, Sarah. I too, love to use a timer, and work in 1/2 to 1 hour segments. I’ll add my trick for doing lengthy tasks: if I am designing (or any task requiring more than 1 hour to get done) I set my timer for 1/2 hour intervals, and when the alarm goes off, I stop working and take 3-5 minutes to blast out a set of squats, push-ups or sit-ups. I’ve found this to be great way to energize myself for the next round and also not feel like I’m ‘procrastinating’ on my exercise routine, but squeezing it into my schedule instead.

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