We begin this article with an introduction to procrastination. Then we discuss six ways you can stop procrastinating right now says Paul Haarman. We end with a summary list of all six points.
For many years, I have been trying to stop running late and wasting so much time because of it. But being chronically late has also caused me to miss out on great opportunities in business and even my personal life. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been easy to stay on top of my time-management skills, but I do feel that I’ve made tremendous progress.
So let’s review the six steps that have helped me get better organized and stop wasting so much valuable time:
1. Stop rationalizing your poor time management.
If you want to improve the way you spend your days, and then start by changing how you think about time itself. You can’t control what goes on around you—traffic jams, unexpected delays at work, power outages—but you can control how you respond to these external events. An important first step is to stop blaming traffic for being late or hectic commutes on your already tight schedule. Furthermore, don’t even go there by criticizing others who cause you to be late. Accept responsibility for your actions and realize that when you’re late, the real reason is almost always that you’ve allowed it to happen.
2. Set an alarm for 20 minutes earlier than usual.
People who say they don’t have enough time are really just lacking motivation and self-discipline when it comes to managing their time in a productive way. But we live in a 24/7 world where there’s constant pressure and unlimited demands on our attention, not to mention information overload: You can never keep up with all of the latest news and technology inundating us every single day. Not only do these intrusions eat into our most precious commodity—time it—but they also steal away any chance for peace and quiet.
Because of all this, it’s essential that you start rising earlier in order to accommodate everything that needs to be done without sacrificing your health and sanity explains Paul Haarman. And if that means getting out of bed 20 minutes earlier each day, then just do it! When you set the alarm clock, don’t allow yourself to fall back into a deep sleep unless absolutely necessary. After all, once you’re up, the rest is easy—and the first thing you want to do is take a long shower or drink a cup of coffee before tackling other tasks on your list.
3. Create an ideal morning routine.
The easiest way I’ve found to start my day off right is by practicing yoga daily because it brings my focus back to the present moment. Yoga is a wonderful way to set the tone for productive, focused days. I also like to do some cardiovascular exercise in the morning because it gets me energized and ready for anything that lies ahead. When you’re physically fit, you’ll find you have more energy throughout the day and less stress weighing down on your shoulders when things get out of control.
If it’s not practical for you to start your day with cardiovascular exercise or yoga routines, then try jogging in place for five minutes before jumping into your shower—especially if there isn’t enough time to eat breakfast when you first wake up. Then once you’re dressed and ready to go, prepare a quick meal at home instead of just grabbing an unhealthy fast-food meal on the run. (I prefer toast with some peanut butter and banana slices, fruit, or even oatmeal.)
4. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in 24 hours.
If there’s one thing I learned from my parents, it’s that time is fleeting, and no one knows this better than those of us who are senior citizens says Paul Haarman. That’s why your list of goals should always be writing down—and not just for today but also for tomorrow because if you don’t do it now, then when?
When I first start to take my time-management skills seriously, I began by writing out three goals every single day: One was business-relating; another pertained to something creative; and the last was exercise-relating. I first did this in college, and I continue to do it today because some goals are short-term whereas others require more time. For example, if you want to start running marathons after work instead of sitting on the couch all night watching television, then by all means include that on your list. But don’t set goals that are totally out of reach just so you can say you accomplish something extraordinary—and actually have a heart attack from being exhaust at the end of each day!
5. Incorporate a Pomodoro Technique break every 30 minutes.
The Pomodoro Technique is a great way to remain focused for periods of up to thirty minutes taking a five-minute break every half hour to keep you energized. Working in an uninterrupted flow without any distractions can be tough for some people, especially when you’re new to the game, but after a while it becomes easy as ABC—and eventually 123!
The first thing I do during my 30-minute Pomodoro break is relax with some mouth exercises, which help me feel refreshed and ready to tackle the next few items on my list. And if there aren’t any time constraints or pressures coming from deadlines, then by all means enjoy your lunch hour outside of the office with your colleagues so you don’t burn out too quickly during each day.
6. Work at 90 percent capacity most of the time.
It important that you learn how to prioritize your work in order to focus on the most urgent tasks at hand, but also make time for yourself. It’s important to take a few hours off during the middle of each day so you can recuperate with some leisurely activities, or just with some extra sleep that helps keep you refreshed and energized.
But the bottom line is that procrastination is a lazy man’s poor substitute for self-discipline says Paul Haarman. That’s why I want to help you overcome the habit of putting off important tasks until later—and instead, get them finish today.