Let’s face it, we all end up procrastinating at times – usually when we have lots to do, or deadlines to meet. Here are the Spotlight Newport’s Top Tips to get organised and stop procrastinating!
Get organised and plan out your day/week.
Write down the tasks that you need to get done for the week, as well as the time you have available to actually get tasks done. It may look scary, but it is worth doing. Then work out what are the priority tasks, and which are things that need doing at some time during the week, and which ones can be done at any time. Try not to schedule too many high priority tasks for each day – one or two is plenty, otherwise you will get overwhelmed! Something like Trello works well for keeping track of all your tasks.
Work out what tasks are the most urgent/best to do first – eat that frog!
Is there something you really aren’t looking forward to doing? This may make you want to procrastinate about getting around to it. Mark Twain once said that ‘If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.’ Basically, if there is something you really don’t want to do (ie eat that frog), the sooner it is done, the better. Your day can only look up from then on in as you have done the worst task (or two), and everything else will seem easy, and won’t take as long.
Get rid of distractions
If you tend to find yourself getting distracted easily, then switch off all alerts and alarms on your devices (or at least turn the volume off). Close all the tabs on your browser, other than the one you need. Listening to music can sometimes help, especially if there is a lot of background noise where you are, and classical music tends to have better results, as you won’t end up singing along to the lyrics! If you are working from home or the office and there are too many distractions, try working from a local coffee shop, or maybe try your local co-working space.
If you need to keep on top of emails and social media, schedule it in to your day. Give yourself 20 minutes or so in the morning, at lunchtime and then in the afternoon/end of the day to check them all and interact on social media.
Break bigger tasks down into small bites
Some tasks seem overwhelming, when they don’t need to be. This often leads to procrastinating, as you don’t know where to start. For example, maybe you need to research and write a blog article. You can split the task down into smaller steps. They could be:
- Research the topic and relevant key words
- Write the first draft
- Edit the post
- Create an image for the blog
- Publish the blog on your website and share to social media
This makes it all seem much easier, as you can see what steps you need to take, and have a clear process in place to follow to have your blog written and published.
Use the Pomodoro Method to keep yourself focused.
This can really be a game changer, and works really well with your bite-sized tasks above. The Pomodoro method is a way to stop yourself procrastinating. Essentially, you set the timer for 25 minutes, work solidly on that one task for that time (with no distractions), then have a 5 minute break. After the 5 minute timer is up, start your next 25 minute session. Repeat until you have done 4 of the 25 minute sessions, and then take a longer break. So you could do the first 4 tasks in the above list within that (or all 5 if you have an image already for example), then take a longer break for lunch. With the breaks, it is important to actually take the time away from your task. Make a cup of tea, check out the flowers in the garden, go make a fuss of the dog, go and chat with colleagues if you are in an office.
If you find yourself procrastinating (again), then read a chapter of a motivational book, or something business-related. It will hopefully get you into the right mindset, but even if it hasn’t, at least the time has been well spent on something, rather than just playing games on your phone, or spending too much time on Facebook.
Outsource what you can.
Think about the task you need to do. Are you really the best person to be doing that particular item? If it takes you a long time to do, or you don’t enjoy the task, then it may be better to outsource it. An example of this is Bookkeeping. Yes, I can do it myself, but don’t enjoy it, and it takes me quite a while to do. I’m much better off using my bookkeeper Choice Bookkeeping to do it for me (in probably a quarter of the time I can do it in), freeing me up for doing things I am better at, and enjoy. The same can be said for graphic design – I ask treefrög Designs to create amazing images for me!
If there is something that you would like to outsource, we can help! Spotlight Newport provide packages to help you with your marketing – including writing your blogs for you – and we have access to amazing accountants, bookkeepers, graphic designers, training staff and so many more. Have a look at our business directory, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org For Marketing packages, book a 20 minute telephone appointment here to see how we can help you!
We leave you with this quote from Peter Drucker that resonates with us:
‘Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed’
Hope your day is as productive as can be!
Kate @ Spotlight Newport