Inspiration

5 steps to stop procrastination and get stuff done

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The constant advent of technology has made most of our everyday tasks infinitely easier than they were before; typing machines replaced pen and paper a few centuries ago, and then computers utterly replaced typing machines. A wide array of items that once required a very strict, complex and precise manufacturing process can now be easily designed and 3D printed instantly – from mundane ones such as ballpoint pens to fully-functional automobile parts. These are just some examples of how technology has made us more efficient while taking a lot of the workload off at the same time.

However, there’s one certain aspect in which technology hasn’t helped at all, in fact it’s made things even worse: human procrastination. The Internet is full of interesting distractions at every corner, and studies show that the average person in the US spends around forty minutes per day just browsing Facebook – and that’s just a single website (albeit one of the most popular ones) out of thousands that you can waste your valuable time on.

It’s not just the Internet’s fault, though. Let’s face it, very few of us actually like to work, and so we often make up excuses such as “I’ll just watch one more video”, until you realize a few hours later that you’ve been absolutely unproductive and start to antagonize yourself. So what can you do about this? Is there a tactic that you can employ to take control of your time once again, or are you doomed to a lifetime of scrolling down your timeline and looking at funny cat gifs? Fortunately for you, there are a few tricks that you can try in order to be more efficient.

The two-minute rule

This is a very simple method and it works really well. It will help you take care of a lot of mundane tasks that seem difficult and troublesome from your current standpoint, but once you get up and do them you’ll realize that it was all in your head. The rule is simple: “If it takes less than two minutes to do, do it right away.”

This can include taking out the trash, washing the dishes right after a meal, feeding your pet, putting your dirty laundry in the washing machine and so on. Anyone can do a task that takes a measly two minutes, right?

Tackle your hardest task first

According to Piers Steel, Ph.D. that teaches organizational dynamics at Calgary University, humans have a limited willpower supply, and therefore we should spend this willpower wisely. What does this mean? It means using up your energy while it’s fresh on the most challenging task that you have, because once it’s out of the way it’ll be much easier to take care of the easier ones.

The other scenario is putting off your most difficult task for a later time, and doing the easier ones first. By doing that, you’ll significantly diminish your sense of accomplishment with those smaller tasks, because “you still have to do the hard one”, and this will only demotivate you further and won’t help with your procrastination. It might be hard to get started on the most challenging thing right away, but once you take care of it you’ll be relieved and energized, and more than ready to take care of the rest.

Once you get started, don’t stop

Our minds have a certain sense of inertia; the more we sit around doing nothing and spend our time passively (watching TV, scrolling up and down Facebook), the harder it is to engage our brains in any kind of actual activity. Once you do manage to get up and start doing something, though, it’s much easier to continue – until you sit back down again and go back to being passive.

This is the main problem that most of us have with procrastination. We either don’t get started at all, or (and this is more often the case) we do get started but the moment we hit a roadblock we return to our passive state – and then you’re back to square one. It’s the equivalent of turning your car engine off at every red light, only to turn it on again when the light turns green. It makes much more sense to keep the engine on the whole time, and turn it off only when you’ve reached your destination. Note that this doesn’t mean that you can’t take a single break during your shift – of course you can and you should, but keep your mind partially on your work and at the ready, so that you can return to full efficiency immediately after your break.

Kill the ads

If you use the Internet a lot during your work for research or anything else, you probably already know that ads are everywhere. Even on major websites such as Facebook, Google and Twitter, you’re constantly bombarded by ads anywhere you look. It gets even worse that these ads are becoming personalized to your tastes, tracking your online searches to present you with a product or service that you might find tempting. You should definitely install some kind of ad blocking software to help you filter out all these ads, because it will make your online experience much less distracting. Additionally, with a good VPN provider, you can encrypt your connection sufficiently to prevent sneaky code injections that are responsible for generating these annoying personalized ads.

Create deadlines for yourself

People work well under pressure – that’s an undisputed fact. Take all the pressure away, and you get a significant drop in productivity. If you’re your own boss and you have no one to set real deadlines for you, then you want to set some for yourself. Figure out how much time you think you’d need for a certain task, take a timer and set it to that amount of time. Or alternatively, ask yourself how much you think you can do in 10 minutes, set the timer to that and try to beat it. By creating artificial pressure for yourself, you’ll put yourself in a more efficient mindset and almost certainly boost your overall productivity; and more importantly, you’ll finish your tasks quicker giving you more time for yourself later.

Conclusion

Procrastination is definitely a big nuisance nowadays, and we hope that these few tips have inspired you to take control of your time and become more efficient at your work. It’s really not as difficult as it seems at first glance, though. You’re the master of your own workflow and if you plan things out intelligently, you’ll find that it’s much easier to focus and get stuff done than you once thought. Good luck!

About Adam Ferraresi

Adam Ferraresi is a successful web developer from Dallas, Texas and one of the writers of wefollowtech.com. He is twenty three years old, and when he isn’t working on some interesting new article, he enjoys listening to music and watching old movies.

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