Confession: I am a procrastinator. I like writing, whether it’s research, curriculum, or my blog, and I have lots of ideas that run through my brain at all times of the day or night. But when it comes time to type it up I can find a million other things I’d rather do. Email? Yes! Vitally important. Twitter? LinkedIn? Yes! Can’t ignore social media. Research? Yes!!! And before I know it my morning is gone. Now I only have half a day to get a full day’s work completed.
I’d like to blame social media for my procrastination problem, but I’ve always been this way. If you’re a procrastinator too, I have a few lovely resources to help you reform your time wasting ways:
The Pomodoro Technique: Essentially, this technique teaches you to work in time blocks with a break in between sessions. You’ll learn how much you can accomplish at specific tasks, and how quickly you can get things done so you can better estimate how long something will take you. Watch the video – it’s less than 2 ½ minutes long, so not much of a time waster!
Lumosity: Brain training games that help you increase your focus, memory, and cognitive abilities. You can download the app free from iTunes or connect online at www.lumosity.com. In less than 5 minutes per day, they suggest you can increase your brain’s function.
Take a shower: Research shows that doing something mindless allows your brain to go on autopilot, and once you relax the ideas flow without restriction. You get the same type of mental boost from exercise that doesn’t require concentration, like walking, running or a stationary bike. Plus, you’ll feel better and charged up for your day.
Find your optimal productivity time: In my former life as an academic, I used to work all hours of the day and night. Let’s face it, historical research is just as good on your couch at 3am as it is in the library at 11am. When it came to meeting my big deadline, though, I found that getting up at 4am was my peak time of the day. I would accomplish my entire day’s goals before 9am, and could then spend the rest of my time focused on something other than my research. Depending on your job, and the type of work you do, figure out if you’re a morning, afternoon or evening person. If your employer offers flexible working time or telecommuting, you might consider trying to adapt the job to your preferred schedule rather than trying to fit someone else’s idea. 9-5 is kind of arbitrary, after all, and if you can make a case for increased productivity at 4am, you just might convince them.
We all have different work styles, preferences and procrastination triggers, so take the time to learn what spurs you to action. You’ll feel more productive and less stressed, and who doesn’t want that?!
Have questions? Productivity tips you’d like to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.