We are super excited to share this guest post by the wonderful Claudia Orengo from Heartmade.es who is going to break down how to stop procrastinating. Woo hoo!
Hello! I am Claudia Orengo, a graphic & web designer from Barcelona (although I currently live in Morocco).
I decided to quit my job in design studio in September 2013 and start my freelancing under the name of Heartmade.es.
It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever done on my entire life. But, like most everything, it has its pros and cons.
And one of the biggest cons? You need to plan your time, be productive and learn how to stop procrastinating by yourself.
Sounds easy, right? Not so fast.
Every single person who I’ve worked with has told me I’m a super fast worker, but I never thought of myself that way.
I have discovered the difference between the way I work and the way most other people work is that I don’t waste time.
You might be thinking to yourself, who is this Claudia who doesn't waste time?
I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a Martian and I’m guilty of checking social media when I’m working.
But since I had the opportunity to see the way people waste time, I took note, learned from their mistakes and found my own solutions.
And that’s what I want to share with you: My secrets on how to stop procrastinating and get stuff done.
Ready? Let’s dive into it!
Understanding why you're procrasting
To start changing your bad habits, you need to know what they are.
I’m sure you know you procrastinate, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this post. But do you really know why you do it?
Do know how much time you spend delaying your to-do list?
Or do you really know what kind of activities do you while you should be working?
I’m here to help you find out.
I want you to do for the next few days is to install RescueTime to your computer.
This is an amazing tool that tracks all your actions and calculates for you how much time do you spend on every task.
It is a good way to realize how many hours do we spend on Facebook or Youtube.
You may also discover other activities that distract you from your goals.
Maybe you check social media from your phone, read books, watching TV, checking the fridge every now and then...
For all those activities that do not need your computer, grab paper and pen and try to take note of them during at least 3 days (ideally 1 week). To make it easy, you can create a list that captures:
- whatsapp - work - email - eating - tv - instagram - work - email - lunch
Changing your work routine
Now that you know what are your vulnerabilities, you are ready to start working on them.
Create a list
Create a list for all your work and projects.
Start breaking out the work into small pieces. The smaller the task you create, the better. 5 minutes tasks are the best, but we all know there are things that require longer time. Put those on there too.
Batch your work
Look at all these lists and search for common tasks.
Perhaps you need to post on your social media accounts once or twice a day, you can make this so much easier by writing all your posts at the same time rather spending 5-10 minutes every time you want to post something.
Batching is an amazing productivity technique.
Imagine you have a new post on your blog and you want to promote it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Perhaps you need to post on your social media accounts once or twice a day.
You can make this so much easier by writing all your posts at the same time rather than spending 5-10 minutes every time you wat to post something.
All these would represent minimum 4 things on your list but if you have done the previous exercise you will end up with 20 or more steps like taking or selecting pictures, adapting picture size, writing caption, preparing hashtags, scheduling x 5 social media accounts.
Instead of having an eternal list by batching these activites you can select all your social media images for the week, crop all of them, and write all the copy.
Next thing you know, the tasks seem less daunting and you’re even more productive.
Start with the worst, most dreadful task first
I’m not a fan of forcing myself to work on something if I feel totally demotivated by, but I find it very useful to start the day with a task that I don’t like.
This way it’s not looming over your head the rest of the day.
You can color your "to do list” from green to red and start every day with a red activity.
Doing it this way will see you spending 5-10 minutes on something you don’t like, but you’re free to enjoy the rest of your day without thinking about it afterwards.
Even better, feeling awesome because you already did that pain in the *** task!
Hide all distractions
Are you constantly checking your phone? Do you open every new email you receive?
You are not the only one.
Put your phone on flight mode, close your email and add this as a task on your “to do list”.
I promise you that once you try it, you will love it!
When you have a break you can open your phone and see how many new messages your friends have sent you, or you can find out how many new followers and likes do you have on Instagram.
That's sure to make you smile and forget about work instantly.
Remember: everything at his own time.
Accept procrastination as something positive
Don’t get me wrong, procrastination is great. The problem relays on the excess of it.
But let’s change the way we think of it.
Rather than putting off the job at hand, let’s make it relaxation, disconnection or even meditation time!
Instead of thinking how bad it is to procrastinate, I like to think that is my reward after hard work.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique has you concentrating on your work or task during a pre-defined amount of time, calculated with a timer.
They recommend to do 20-25 minutes of work and then a break of 5 before starting again with a new Pomodoro (20 minutes more).
I personally prefer to work during 45 minutes, have a break of 5, do 45 more, another break of 5, 20 minutes and then have a longer break; but every person finds his own sweet spot.
If you decide your Pomodoro breaks are time to hang on the Internet, read some random articles, subscribe to new inspiring blogs or just check our social media, we are rewarding ourselves with procrastination time.
So the idea is to concentrate our work as much as possible with the objective of enjoying our break with free and fun time. Isn’t it cool?
And there’s more! Here’s an extra credit piece I’d like you to try.
Now that you are starting to schedule your procrastination, always have a pen and notebook (or Evernote) next to you to write down all the new interesting things you may discover.
Maybe sign up for a new blog that gives you an awesome checklist, or you find a free course, or you come up with an idea for your next project.
Just note it and keep it in mind for your upcoming long break.
It will give you motivation to finish your work and you will find productivity under procrastination!
I hope these tips help you find the light and start enjoying with the combination of productivity and procrastination on your daily routine.