I just met a friend and we came to the topic of procastination. People that procastinate obviously can’t reach their full potential. Procastination is not cool. How can we then make sure to not do it?
I am myself a master-procastinator - but I found some ways to hack myself to be more productive (at least a bit). Here are some recommendations that worked for me:
Get Distractions Far Far Away from You
I am very much interested and addicted to my twitter feed - but also to news in the world. I could procastinate hours and hours reading things of other people.
My hack is therefore to ban domains on my laptop that would distract me. On a Mac / Linux box this it is pretty simple by adding the domains to /etc/hosts like so:
Banning these domains was a massive help for me personally.
Having these domains available on my mobile phone seems to be fine for me.
I need Linkedin often professionally for hiring tasks. But their feed is pretty good at capturing my attention which means wasting time on stupid stuff again.
My solution is to use a Chrome extension called Feed Blocker that simply hides all distractions at Linkedin. I can still use messaging but all distractions are disabled. More focus - less time wasted.
I stopped using Facebook some years ago and never looked back. Big timesaver.
I am using many filters that automatically move my emails to folders. Therefore my inbox is usually empty. I am not a religious follower of inbox-zero - but as a matter of fact my inbox is often simply empty because of my automated filters. Checking emails often does not make sense because not much happens in my inbox.
Notifications / Popups
Notifications are productivity killer. I disable almost all notifications on my devices. Notifications suck on my Mac but also on my phone. The downside: I sometimes “forget” a meeting because I did not get a reminder. But it does not happen often and the gain of increased focus is well worth it.
First things first
I am a master in postponing important but stressful work as much as possible.
Therefore I force myself in the morning to
- first structure the day and write down my priorities in a TODO-style Google Docs
- then work on the first (most annoying) task - and simply get it done
I also maintain a list of my three most important goals for the week.
There’s a very nice rule called the top goal rule. Time spent on your most important task accumulates and good things happen - even if you spend only one hour a day on it.
Fight procastination! Remove everything that distracts you from your life. Get the most important stuff done as soon as possible in the day.
- Awesome image on top by Priscilla Du Preez