Like most people, I grappled with what the new normal looked like as we entered the COVID-era. One of the things I also struggled with during this period is time-management. As morning turn to evening and the night gives way to a new day, every day seem to pass like a blur (they still do), it began to seem like 24 hours isn’t enough for a day.
In this blog, I will be sharing my battle with procrastination and how I have been able to manage it over time.
Awareness. Awareness is the first step to change. Acknowledge that you re a procrastinator and work to rid yourself of that title. If you do not acknowledge this, then you do not know that you have a problem. Yes, procrastination is a problem!
Identify the reason (for procrastinating). What are those things that cause you not to finish your task? Identify the “distractors”. I call them distractors because they are those things that debar you to achieve your set goals. Is it food? (being around food all the time is a big distraction, with everyone working at home. It’s easy to make a trip to the kitchen every now and then – sometimes just because you feel like chewing something) Is it Netflix or a TV show? (Seasonal films are the most annoying – you always want to know what happens in the next episode) Is it sleep? Is it phonecall from friends, family? Hobbies? Or even incessant meetings with colleagues? Whatever it is, identify it and treat them as distractors. Learn how to allocate time for the essential ones and cut down on the time you spend on the seemingly frivolous ones.
Set milestones on what to do and devote time for action items. Set a timeline for each of your task, especially ones that has to do with deliverables. Identify the three most important tasks you intend to do in order of importance and write them down. Don’t just commit them to memory. You may have lots of things to do but figuring out the most important three will help. Once you have identified them, act accordingly. Otherwise, you may find yourself busy and not achieving anything. Remember, being busy doesn’t mean you’re productive.
Have clarity of purpose on what you want to do. While you may not be able to finish the task in a day, it is not an excuse to fall back into the deep hole of procrastination. Even if you don’t finish the task on the day you have set, make sure you give yourself a timeline on when to finish the task. Success in whatever form, doesn’t come by stroke of luck, they require enormous effort. Stay off your phone and social media when working – it is easy to get distracted with different breaking news coming in by the hour and different activities on social media.
Don’t rush, take things step by step. It’s okay if you don’t finish what you have set to do, the most important thing is that you are focused on the activity and you are able to achieve at least 75% of what you set out to do for the day. To me that’s progress/success. The most important thing in this case is to check your progress and stay on track. Excess fails, simple scales.
Collaborate. It is okay to ask for help or delegate. That way you are held accountable / indebted to finish the task. You don’t want to be the one that was slacking behind and didn’t make the project a success.
Be Accountable. Accountability is about progress on your shared purpose. Set expectations and always connect accountability to shared purpose. This will ensure that you follow through in whatever you set out to do.
Finally, here is a resource/worksheet that can help you plan your activities to manage procrastination.