Beating Procrastination – Add Some Structure To Your Days
In our recent blog post on procrastination, we discussed the many reasons as to why you may find yourself procrastinating. One of which, may be that you didn’t add some structure to your days. The best way to avoid procrastination is to of course never let it begin, and the people who do so are the ones who organize, schedule and manage their time well. This should come as no surprise, really, as good planning is the foundation of success for almost any project.
Adding some structure to your days can help you get over the dread and initial paralysis you may feel of even getting started. Don’t just write down a to-do list, identify exactly how and when you’ll accomplish each task. We all have the same number of hours each day to accomplish our goals. It’s how we use those hours that determines our success.
- Plan your day the night before. This is the most underrated productivity tip ever. Before you go to bed each night, put together a plan to start your next day with a purpose. Grab a pen and paper (or open your app) and write down what goals you’d like to accomplish. What will you start on first? What do you hope to accomplish? In order of priority, what must you get completed tomorrow?
- Do something for yourself first thing each morning. A morning routine signals to your mind that it’s “game on”. This can help you get motivated to face the day head on, even when you don’t feel like it. Your morning time can be as simple as a quick walk outside, a few minutes of meditating alone or a cup of tea while the sun rises. Whatever it may be, choose an activity (or several) that will put you in a positive mindset.
- Tackle emails first. You’ll likely be bombarded with emails and texts begging for your attention as soon as you wake up. Avoid responding until you’ve gotten in your morning ‘me time’, but then tackle them. You know these are important and if you prioritize them, you’ll be less likely to react to them throughout the day, sparking distractions.
- Start fresh is the best way to add structure to your days. Make a fresh, new to-do list each and every day to avoid clogging up your agenda with already completed items. This is also a great way to ensure that you’re actually getting things done each day (wink, wink).
- Get your hardest task done before lunch. If you have a large task that you need to accomplish or one that you really just don’t want to do, do it first. Swallow the frog as they say. This strategy is effective, as we only have so much willpower. Once we use it up for the day, the chances of us taking on and tackling tasks are pretty slim. So dive into your most challenging tasks when your energy level is at its peak for the best results.
- Reward yourself for completing tasks. What interrupts you while you’re in work mode? Grabbing a cup of coffee down the street? Chatting with coworkers? Rather than let these serve as distractions, utilize them to stand in as rewards and incentive to get work done. Set up a system of sorts to allow yourself to indulge after marking something off of your to-do list.
- Evaluate each night. At the end of each day, do a quick assessment of what you were and weren’t able to accomplish. This will help you to maintain a clear vision of your goals, as well as understand what’s working for you and what isn’t. Prioritize deadlines to avoid cramming, but don’t get frustrated if things don’t always go as scheduled.
- Prepare for distractions. Finally, be ready for roadblocks. Once you have a game plan established, step back and imagine what sort of obstacles may come up along the way. For example, other demands or requests might land on your desk. Consider how you’ll handle such challenges should they arrive.
This is a great general framework for planning a productive and meaningful day and live a happy life.
Make sure to start thinking ahead the night before, shape up a solid morning ritual and know what your absolute to-dos are. You’ll be most successful once you find your own personal groove, and it will become easier to aim higher and achieve more. Always add a structure to your days. Remember, however, to constantly challenge yourself to be better.
“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.”- Spanish Proverb
Make sure you read the other articles in our series on procrastination:
- How A Positive Mindset Can Beat Procrastination
- Do Not Always Aim For Perfection
- Seeing Each Task As One Big Project
- Understanding Procrastination And How To Beat It