Productivity for Procrastinators

I have several part-time jobs outside of my full-time degree so I often have a lot going on. My grades are good and my performance at work doesn’t slip, so people assume I must be really organised and productive. I am not.

Naturally, I am infuriatingly prone to procrastination and have a horrible habit of leaving things until time is running out as a result of this. So, in today’s post, I will let you in on my secrets to getting stuff done and looking productive when really you are a procrastinator.

  1. Pomodoro Technique

In this technique, you choose a task you are going to focus on, set a timer for 25 minutes and then solidly work on that task and nothing else. After 25 minutes, you stop and take a five-minute break before setting the timer again. After four blocks of 25 minutes, you take a longer break of 20 to 30 minutes. Then you start again. The permission to get distracted in small bursts and the promise of a decent break gets you right into ‘the zone’! Just make sure you stick to the timings no matter what.

If you type ‘pomodoro’ into your app store, you will find lots of apps that will do the timings for you.

2. Get specific

I’m not going to tell you that writing lists is helpful because we all know that by now, but HOW we write these lists can be the difference between making progress and giving up and watching TV all day. Break big tasks into small, specific parts e.g. instead of ‘write research module essay’ you would have ‘read research module handbook, decide on points to make in research essay, write essay plan and send to tutor’ or perhaps even more specific tasks.

3. Star Tasks

You’ve got your specific list with really clear achievable tasks, so now pick your star tasks. Being really specific will actually make your to-do lists LONGER, so picking three to five star tasks per day to highlight or have on a separate list. These should be the things you need to get done as a priority. Get them crossed off first and you will often feel spurred on to crack on with the rest of the list. If you don’t feel that way? That’s fine, the most important stuff is done for the day! Take a break and see how you feel after.

Sam xo

Tips for Productivity

Procrastination is easy to slip into and hard to get out of. A lack of motivation is the main cause, which we have all fallen victim to, made especially worse with looming deadlines and challenging studies. In this post, I’m going to give you my three top tips for beating the procrastination monster.

To-Do Lists

A to-do list? How cliché. Hear me out. It may feel like taking time on a to-do list is, in fact, procrastination, but it can boost your motivation – which is what we’re after. I like to colour-code mine so I can visually see which areas of study I need to be focusing on, organising it in terms of priority, to make sure I know what’s coming and when. However, I read somewhere that the best way to be productive with your to-do list is to do your 2-minute activities first. If you have something that will take under an hour to do, get it done. Even better, if it will take you 5-10 minutes, do that first. There is nothing better than ticks on a to-do list.

Breaks

I am prone to an occasional burnout, this is usually when I have a monster assignment due and there just isn’t time to take breaks. I’m being realistic, sometimes you need to just graft. However, breaks are vitally important and your work will benefit from giving your brain regular rests. I like to set myself a goal to achieve by a certain time. For example, if I get to the library for 9am, I’d like to think I’ve got 5-7 journals read by lunchtime, this is, of course, dependent on the article but setting myself that goal means I have something to work to and I know a break is coming. On a break I will check my phone and reply to any messages, I’ll go to the toilet or get a drink/food. I usually give myself 10-20 minutes, and then get back to it.

If I’m working from home, I’ll add rewards to this. If I can work for 4 hours, I’ll watch an episode of whatever I’m watching or I’ll have a nap or practice the piano. I’ll then set myself off for another 4 hours with another reward. It just breaks it up a bit better.

Making the best use of your time

I’m not a morning person. I can be, but not often. I don’t like getting up early, however, I feel better when I do. This week, I have been waking up an hour/two hours earlier and going straight to the library. Whilst there I am tackling the small jobs on my to-do list and it’s amazing how productive I have been/felt this week. It’s only an extra couple hours but I feel so much better. Your future self will thank you for this.

What are your tips for productivity?

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to leave a comment with any questions/ideas and I’ll get back to you.

Amy