Stop the vicious cycle that is preventing you from putting your best foot forward.
1. Tackle the top-three priorities first
Start each day by identifying your top three priorities on your to-do list for the day. Commit to finishing at least these three before you get side-tracked by anything else. And tackle the least appealing task first. Unfortunately there’s no way around this. You can only focus on so much in a day, and you need to get done with the task that takes the most amount of energy first. Get it out of the way so that you feel a sense of accomplishment and can then get down to the tasks you enjoy more.
2. Incentivise the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is a great way to pace yourself and enhance your productivity. The time management tool suggests you break down work periods into 25-minute slots. The idea is to complete work in short bursts, take a break, recharge and then get back in again. You can choose to increase the time slots to 30 or 60 minutes depending on what works for you. When confronted with an especially boring or unappealing task, set up a small reward for when you get done. So you have one more thing to look forward to apart from the break after the task.
3. Breakdown a major job into doable chunks
It can be quite overwhelming when confront with a big daunting task, especially one that’s unappealing. So rather than trying to tackle it all in one go, break it up into smaller more palatable bites. Set deadlines against each of the chunks so as to ensure you’re making headway. This will help you counteract inertia, develop a momentum and keep procrastination at bay.
4. Identify the distractions
Start keeping a closer eye on your activities at work and the time you’re taking to complete certain tasks. What do you distract yourself with when procrastinating on a task? Social media? Workplace interactions? Updating reports? Make a list of all the distractions. Then schedule your day so that you set aside a designated, limited time for them. This way you’re enhancing productivity by setting strict timelines for task completion and limiting the time spent on distractions.
5. Don’t let perfectionism complicate things
Perfectionism can often cause you to wait for the perfect time to do something. There’s never a perfect time, and you’re just waiting precious time as you wait for that moment. You’re also likely to overthink a small, routine task, blow it out of proportion and make it intimidating. Overcome this desire for everything to be ‘perfect’, acknowledge there’s no best time, and just tackle the task at hand.
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