5 productivity hacks for massive procrastinators!

<Collaborative post> Are you an over thinker? Do you wait for the last minute to get things done? Sometimes, some of the most important things? Do you spend time doing everything else that’s not important like organizing, surfing the web mindlessly or watching ‘how to stop procrastinating’ videos ๐Ÿ˜€ ? No worries, you are not the only one who falls in such cycles every now and then.

Being a massive procrastinator myself, I educated myself with a few hacks that have proven to be extremely successful to get over my tirelessly overthinking brains and getting things done. These methods can definitely not be explained in a few words, but I would leave a gist for each one in this blog, you can try these or dig deeper for whichever one is a fit for you.

1. The Pomodoro technique :

This is one of my favorites to build ultimate focus to get things done. More of a time management hack, this method was first introduced to the world by Francisco Cirillo. The name comes from an important element of the technique, the Pomodoro timer, a simple kitchen timer that runs for pockets of time. You dedicate to work on a single task and then reward yourself with a short break, until you work for 2 hours and then take a longer break.

This method can be broken down into 4 simple steps:

  1. Pick the most urgent task you would like to focus on for the next few hours.
  2. Set a 25 min timer. There are literally tonnes of websites you can do this on or just use the one on your phone. I would personally recommend a traditional timer rather than a website or phone to remove any potential distractions ๐Ÿ˜€ .
  3. Work on the task for 25 min and then take a 5 min break. During the break, absolutely cut off from what you were doing. Take a walk or do some mundane task in those 5 min.
  4. Every 4 cycles of <25 min work + 5min break>, reward yourself with a longer break.

In your mind, you do know you need to focus for 25 min only for starters. And after each cycle of 30 min, you would feel you have got something done which will propel you to do the next bit.

2. The ‘State of Flow’ :

If getting into the Pomodoro technique is not something for you, why not try to focus on something just for 15 min. I would say, turn down all the distractions you have, make your workspace clutter free and just start with doing something for 15 min. More often than not, we go in a state of flow and it is usually a matter of starting the task and you wouldn’t even know you worked on it for hours. You could also put some focus music in the background and get on your task.

Brought to the world and shared extensively by psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Jeanne Nakamura, the state of flow is so immersive that you would literally forget everything else and would just be engaged on the task you are doing(probably just like when you are watching a very interesting movie).

3. Breaking it down & To Do lists :

That entire big project can be very overwhelming, inducing the fear of failure and eventually leading to delay in doing whatever you need to do NOW! So instead of thinking of working on the entire project all at once, slash it, smash it, break it down into smaller chunks. You could maintain a To-Do list for these bits. Well, the to-do lists can be overwhelming too! If you are feeling mentally drained, just focus on the simpler ones and check it off the list.

Planning usually gives motivation and clarity. If you feel fresh and ready to charge on the task after all the planning, it will be a good idea to focus on the difficult tasks first – to get them out of the way and do the simple tasks when you more feel like not doing anything. And if possible, write your to-dos on a paper, there’s nothing better than freeing up your mind by not holding everything in there or on your electronic device. There is still something magical about a pen and a piece of paper.

4. Time Blocking:

Time and again, self development industry pioneers like Robin Sharma and many successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates have emphasized how time blocking helps them achieve ultimate focus and gives them a sense of control over their time. You can simply break down your day and block time slots for certain activities, say, 3 hours for task A, 2 hours for task B, 2 hours for family time etc. so that you focus on that particular activity which is scheduled at a certain time. As a start, use the calendar on your phone and block out chunks of your time. You may need to readjust and recalibrate it such that it perfectly fits your routine. As a planning junkie, I would use different colors for different type of activity category like work, self development, family ๐Ÿ™‚ .

5. Do a mundane chore, just like Gates or Bezos :

As crazy as it sounds, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, do (or at least claim to do) the dishes every night. The best ideas could come while doing the most mundane tasks like taking a shower or folding the laundry. It can calm your mind, distract you from self sabotaging and running away from the important tasks. Mediation gurus believe that it is a proven way for incorporating simple meditation into your daily routine. Cleaning your room can also declutter your mind. And, once you feel better get back on to that urgent task you had been dodging.

For me, personally, a combination of above methods have always worked to get me out of the productivity slump. And, of course I haven’t perfected any of these. I am still an amatuer, learning how to manage my time and be the most productive version of myself. Tried any of these before or anything else worked for you? Share your hack in the comments section!

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