Sorry to break the news to you, but summer’s over. That means you’re either back at school, swamped at work or trying to figure out where to travel to next because you aren’t quite ready to handle any of those things.
But let’s face it, nobody is, and that’s okay.
So, unless your to-do list looks something like this:
You’re just going to keep putting off the things you need to do, which leads to a familiar problem.
You’re a procrastinator—it’s what you do.
To help, we’ve put together a list of seven tips and a handful of apps that are guaranteed to improve your productivity.
1. Use a to-do list app
It’s pretty difficult to be a productive procrastinator if you don’t have a list to keep you accountable. There are a ton of apps to get the job done but we tend to prefer Wunderlist – it syncs across all your devices, your calendars, is free and even allows you to create subtasks which helps you execute the tip below.
For a procrastinator’s guide on using a to-do list, check out this short post on ‘structured procrastination.’
2. Create subtasks and become a time boxer
Big projects become easier to tackle when you break them into smaller tasks. Couple that with scheduling a limited timeframe to work on each, and you’re ready to get some serious work done. When you know it can’t take more than a certain amount of time, you’re infinitely more likely to tackle it.
3. Do things in bulk, don’t do one-offs
With our smartphones never out of arms reach, it’s as if we’re oblivious to the fact we don’t have to respond to every email, text or call the moment they come in.
Schedule time in your day to tackle these in bulk and you’ll be amazed at how much more time and focus you’ll have.
There’s one exception though. If something will take less than 2 minutes to do, do it now—it’ll take you at least 5 minutes to do it in the future if you even remember at all.
4. Steal back time
Wake up earlier: Just suck it up, get in a workout, eat some breakfast and get your day started right.
If you’re worried about not getting enough sleep, use sleepyti.me. You tell it when you’re going to sleep or waking up and it uses sleep cycle research to suggest times.
Make your commute work for you: Listen to an audio book or return phone calls while you drive, bus or walk – even respond to emails while you’re in the back of a cab or on the bus.
Use a navigation and traffic app like Waze to avoid traffic delays and get you where you’re going faster on your drive.
Check a bus schedule app before you head out the door.
Book your cab in advance with a taxi booking app like Zoro – The Lower Mainland Taxi App. It works pretty much everywhere and you’ll get status updates every step of the way so there are no surprises. You might as well take advantage of their MacBook Giveaway while you’re at it.
5. Plan your day the night before
Research indicates the more decisions we make throughout the day, the less motivated and driven we become. This makes developing routines and planning much more than simply a way to keep organized and manage time – it makes them necessary for us to actually get things done.
So get in the habit of planning your day the night before and you’ll have more energy, start making better decisions and stop being that jerk who likes to figure out what they want to eat the minute they’re already at the counter.
6. Learn to say ‘no’
It’s a word embraced by two year olds everywhere, but as we grow up we tend to use it less and less.
The more you can say no to things you don’t want to do, the more time and energy you’ll have to put towards the things you do.
7. Use tech to keep you honest… and caffeinated
Dare to learn how much time you’re actually wasting on social media, YouTube and Netflix with RescueTime. This app runs securely on your desktop and Android phones, sending you a daily report of your apps used, time spent on websites and more. Prepare to be humbled.
CaffeineZone2 (iOS) / CaffeineTracker (Android) – A 2002 study on U.S. Navy Seals indicated that maintaining a moderate level of caffeine improved learning, memory and focus. Keep yourself expertly caffeinated for optimum performance with one of these caffeine tracking apps.
Do you have any tools that help you with procrastination?