Procrastination is the archenemy of productivity. Some people waste hours and hours just avoiding the task they will eventually have to do anyhow. This goes from students who delay the moment they start working on their homework, up to top professionals who are overwhelmed by the amount of work in front of them. The purpose of this article is to provide helpful advice to better understand procrastination and how to overcome it.
Prioritizing your work life might not seem very easy, when everything you have to do feels important. Taking things as they come, without having a strategy, usually throws you into chaos, where you running a race against time day after day. Eventually, this continuous fight is likely to lead to burnout and dramatically affect your life.
Here are 7 “safety measures” that will hopefully help you fight the chaos and reclaim your productivity.
1. State your core values
Write down the most important things in your life – those that you wouldn’t give up for anything, no matter what.
A simple way to do that is by designing a chart of the most important areas of your life:
Next, you should write down your top three priorities for each area.
Once you do that, make sure to invest 80% of your time and most of your efforts into accomplishing the items on your chart. The rest of the time should be allocated to completing other tasks that need to be done.
2. Organize your schedule to reflect your values
Simple and intuitive, your schedule should be focused around your non-negotiable core values.
The amount of time you assign to each of your tasks reflects your true priorities. Very often people dedicate more time to less important tasks, losing sight of what truly matters. Avoid taking on menial tasks and learn to delegate those assignments that don’t necessarily require your expertise.
3. Schedule each day efficiently
One of the easiest strategies for efficient scheduling is the 1-3-5 method. This means that your daily schedule will feature one very important task; three tasks of medium importance; and five little things.
Filling your calendar chaotically usually leads to unbalanced situations when you have accomplished tens of small things, leaving to the end of the week the most important tasks. That will make you frustrated and unhappy, putting you in situations when you have to give up on some areas of your life for the sake of the others. Usually, you end up sacrificing personal life in favor of your work. Yet, achieving a healthy work-life balance is the only way to live a happy and fulfilled life.
4. Identify urgent tasks
I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent. – Eisenhower
Eisenhower inspired productivity experts to create what is called The Eisenhower Matrix for prioritizing tasks. The matrix uses the urgency and importance values to make your work life easier, as shown below.
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