Here are some tips on how to better manage time to increase efficiency and reduce procrastination:
When you have a lot of tasks, it can be difficult to keep track of everything. Stay organized and accountable by making a list of everything you need to get done. Once your list is complete, consider what needs the most attention, how much time each task may take, and which items can wait. Select a few to focus on immediately. It may feel frustrating knowing some lower-priority tasks will not get done right away, but remind yourself that you will soon make time for them.
Looking at your list, are there items that overextend you or that put you at risk of burnout? Are there any tasks you can ask someone else to help with? It’s noble to want to do it all, but if your health or the completion of another task could be jeopardized, consider passing.
You’ve prioritized your list and it’s time to get to work. Schedule your day as if each task has its own appointment. If you know you have a few meetings or other appointments during the day, plan the tasks around those.
Sometimes, focusing on one task for several hours at a time can make it difficult to maintain momentum. Expecting to start a task and not stop until it is finished can encourage procrastination. Think about the effort it takes for certain tasks and if you can spread it out over a few days. Within your scheduled appointment time, try to work in brief, regular intervals of attention. For example, if you plan to work for two hours on a task, set a timer for intervals of 20 minutes at a time and focus on that project only during the intervals. After the 20 minutes is up, consider a brief break, no longer than 5 minutes. After your break, set the timer for another interval of 20 minutes. Repeat until your 2-hour appointment is over.
Allowing brief and longer breaks that take you away from work for the moment can help you maintain energy and focus while working. Eat lunch away from your desk, go for a walk, check your personal email, or practice a 10-minute mindfulness meditation. When you leave work at the end of the day, leave it all there until you return.
The feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing a task is a great experience. However, getting started can be difficult. Get creative and think of ways you can reward yourself after you meet your goal. Some people consistently put a few dollars in a jar after finishing a daily task and at the end of the week/month spend it on whatever they like. Others may plan to watch their favorite television show only after two hours of studying for an exam. Some like to create a vision board and use colors or stickers when a job is done. Think of incentives that can help keep you motivated—and follow through on rewarding yourself.
When something doesn’t go as planned, adjust your strategy and keep moving. You may have to rewrite your plan or follow it loosely. Think of your plan as more guide than requirement.
Envision yourself accomplishing your goals. Visualize your plan being carried out and imagine the feelings of accomplishment you will experience.
If nothing seems to work, consider contacting a therapist who can help you figure out what’s getting in your way.© Copyright 2007 - 2021 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
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