5 Productivity Tips for Procrastinators
Wherever you’re working, it‘s easy to become distracted and put off your to-do list. Of course, we all have those days of struggling to be productive, but when procrastination becomes a habit it can hinder progress, creativity and growth. It’s estimated that people procrastinate for at least one hour a day, and 15-22% of adults procrastinate chronically, and with the line between work and downtime blurred more than ever it is becoming an increasing behavior amongst those of a working age. But how do you stop procrastination?
We explore some of the best ways to overcome procrastination in 5 easy steps so that you can have a fruitful working session.
Find the times you’re at your most productive
Everyone has a different body clock and this can heavily influence the times at which you are at your most productive. Attempting to work outside of these times can make you less productive and lead to frustration, which in turn leads to more procrastination. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, it’s important to figure out your optimum working schedule. For some, this might mean getting your most important, labor-intensive work out of the way in the morning, while others may want to check off easy tasks first and focus in the afternoon. The Square coworking spaces are accessible 24/7 so whatever your schedule is, you can still use the spaces.
Create a to-do list for the day
While this may seem elementary, a to-do list helps to set your intentions for the day and identify your priorities. It also helps you to stay on track and checking each task off can be incredibly rewarding. Two of the best apps and tools for productivity are Trello and Basecamp, and even a good old-fashioned paper diary can support this process. It’s important not to overload your to-do list, though, or it could seem daunting and add to the temptation of procrastinating.
Set aside focus time
Once you have decided on your to-do list for the day, block out time that is dedicated to the task at hand. There are apps available such as Session and Be Focused that can help with this by preventing notifications for time specific time you set. You can also employ processes to stop procrastination and help your productivity:
- Pomodoro technique: Set a timer for 25 minutes of focus time followed by a 5-minute break, and after five cycles of this you take a longer break of 30 minutes.
- Eat the frog method: By prioritizing tasks and getting the most important done first when you’re focused, you feel encouraged to continue at that pace to achieve the rest of the day’s goals.
- The Eisenhower Matrix: This framework breaks work down into four categories; urgent and important, urgent but not important, important but not urgent, not urgent or important. These categories help to ascertain the most crucial tasks of the day so that you can prioritize accordingly.
- Time blocking: A time-management system, specific periods of the day are blocked out for working and tasks are assigned to each ‘block’. This not only motivates you to work harder in each session, but can also create more time in your day for other tasks or downtime.
- The rule of three: If you tend to have bursts of concentration, this strategy focuses on getting three tasks or items done in the span of the day rather than specified times. The trick is to write your tasks as goals - for example, ‘I want to complete my expense report’ rather than simply ‘expense report’. This serves as a mindset shift to focus on the importance of the task and spurs action.
By having shorter sprints of concentration, your focus time is broken down into manageable chunks, you’re less likely to experience mental fatigue, and the desire to procrastinate will dissipate.
Focus on one task at a time
It can be tempting to tackle multiple items at the same time, but this can slow down your productivity in the long run and prevent tasks from being completed. Research by the American Psychological Association found that multitasking can cost you up to 40% of your productive time. Not only this, but a study by Stanford University showed that the mental acrobatics required also reduces performance in subsequent tasks. By allowing yourself the time to concentrate on a single job, all your mental energy can be focused on ensuring that the task at hand is done efficiently and to a high quality without interruption.
Create the right environment
Ambience and set up can have an enormous impact on concentration levels, so choosing the right space to work is vital to fight off procrastination. From temperature to amenities, each element can affect a successful working session. Ensure that your space is well-lit or has a lot of natural light, is not too hot or cold, and has everything you need to get on with the task at hand. Another idea is to regularly change your environment - if you sit at the same desk every day it can get dull and mixing it up can inspire new ideas and bring new energy. Luckily, at The Square we have different areas in our coworking offerings for whatever you need - for example, you can move from your desk to the common area if you’re starting to feel stale or use one of our focus rooms if you’re in need of somewhere quiet and isolated.
Find the right work space for you!
With world class amenities, coworking spaces, private offices, meeting and conference rooms, fitness centers, fast WIFI, and a whole host of other benefits under one roof, The Square coworking spaces have everything you need to quit procrastinating and enjoy a productive day. We have locations at 717 Texas, Texas Tower in Houston, Neuchatel in Mexico City, and The Kearns Building in Salt Lake City so get in touch for more information and find out how coworking spaces can be beneficial for your work.