Hello! I’m Michelle and I’m a recovering procrastinator. I hate to admit it but sometimes I have the procrastination bug especially when it comes to doing something that I don’t necessarily enjoy – like taxes or budgeting.
One of the biggest obstacles to getting started is a cloudy mind. Too many ideas swirl around and you don’t know what to do first. The lack of focus can prevent you from making progress. I’ve found myself wasting nearly two hours starting five different things and hardly making progress on anything.
Declutter your workspace
Cleaning your workspace is the first step toward clearing your mind and being able to focus. It’s productivity therapy! Whether you’re in an office or work from home, start the day by cleaning your workspace. Clear your desk of old papers and unnecessary items. When you’re done, your desk will be clear and you’ll be ready to make progress.
Schedule Tasks & Time Block
I’m a strong believer is blocking time for important tasks and projects. Without a schedule, I find myself getting distracted and pulled into other things. Since I work in a corporate environment, I block my Outlook calendar for internal work. Without the block, my co-workers think I’m free and schedule meetings when I actually need to be focused.
Be realistic about time blocking. Don’t set yourself up for failure by scheduling a non-stop block to complete a project from start to finish. Divide your project into small tasks and short time blocks. Build in breaks so you can get up from your desk, stretch and rest your mind.
Our best intentions can be thwarted by digital distractions. It’s the text message that you have to check or notification that someone you follow is live on Facebook. You just have to take a look…a few seconds won’t matter. I’ll be back on task in a few after I read that Tweet from Donald Trump. Wrong! Our digital devices offer so many distractions and when you’re prone to procrastination, they’re a productivity killer.
Turn off computer notifications, flip the phone over and take off that Apple watch! That is, if you want to get anything done aside from watching YouTube videos and the latest TikTok updates.
Your mind isn’t the only obstacle to overcome to avoid the procrastination bug and distraction. Make sure to set expectations with others that you’re unavailable. If you work from home, let your family know when you’re available and when you’d prefer not to be disturbed. Block time when you can interact with family and friends so you’re not isolating yourself or missing out on important events. In my home, family usually respects my time when I’m obviously on the phone or a video call with a co-worker or direct report. But they often think I’m free to engage when I’m actually deep in thought and need the dedicated time to work.
Making just a few adjustments can help you get started and beat the procrastination bug. For additional help try creating a daily priority sheet.