21 Ways of Getting Things Done
In this series we’ll take a look at the reasons people procrastinate and tips on overcoming the habit.
Strategy 3: Tame Time-Stealing Tasks
Watch out for “time stealers,” those small tasks that nibble away minutes and eat up hours from our days. These usually turn out to be tasks such as checking email, peeking at Facebook, taking phone calls while you’re trying to get work done, answering the door, and getting up to make a cup of coffee or fix a snack. It doesn’t matter what you stop working to do; if it isn’t urgent or related to what you are trying to get done, resist the urge to get side-tracked.
One way to get a grip on time-stealers is to record them. It’s hard to make changes if you can’t accurately assess the situation. Keep a log for a few days so you can see where you’re spending too much time on particular distractions. For example, you might discover you actually get up six or seven times to fix tea or coffee during the day, when you thought it was only three or four.
Repetitive distractions can become procrastination habits. Tame them by setting a limit on how many times per day you can indulge in that particular activity, or set a time limit; for example, ten minutes only for checking email, or 20 minutes tops on Facebook before noon, etc.
Use the timer on your stove, a small kitchen timer, or your cell phone. iPhones and android phones have count-down timers in their utility features. You don’t need anything fancy, just something that will be easy for you to use.
Once you’ve looked at your “distraction log” and have an idea where your time is being wasted or frittered away, you can act. Put a big, brightly-colored note next to your computer or tape it to a doorway that reminds you to stay on task. Before you know it you’ll be getting more done!
Strategy 2: Remember the Laws < > Strategy 4: Put the Devices Down!