As a person very lazy by nature, I struggle every single day to get things done. I got so good at fighting my self, most people think I’m a workaholic! There’s a few consious steps I take in order to jumpstart the process, whatever it may be.
1. Make lists
I always make lists. It’s important to find a convenient book, planner or desktop calendar for this. If it’s inconvenient, you’ll end up with a ton of small Post-It’s and disorganized desk. It’s nice to have good memory, but it puts too much pressure if you keep it all in your mind. I sleep much better if I leave it on paper and know I won’t forget anything.
2. Get right to it
First thing in the morning it’s easy to get caught up in checking favorites (the weather web site, joke of the day, early market movement analysis), having a cup of coffee, reading the paper etc. etc. Only allow procrastination after at least 2 hours of work. I turn on the computer and start working right away. I find that my morning hours are usually the most productive, probably because I avoid these “time-nibblers” completely.
I often work on 6-7 projects simultaneously and often prioritizing is the difference between getting it done on time and paid – or NOT. Tasks should be done in the order in which they have to be delivered. Very tempting to do easy or short ones, or the ones for the favorite client first, but if they can wait, skip them for now.
4. Figure out your circadian rhythm
We all slump during the day at some time. For example, I’m not effective at anything from around 3pm to 5pm, so I leave all routine mind-numbing tasks for that time. Or I watch Frasier reruns :). Anything that requires a lot of brain power or creativity should be done during your active hours (morning and late night for me). You won’t be able to concentrate and work effectively during these “slump” hours anyway, so why bother?
5. Take breaks
Even in a time crunch, avoid having lunch right at work. Taking breaks relaxes and focuses you. I try to step away from the computer at least 3 times a day. Ideally, you should take a break once an hour.
None of this may help if you are a particularly hard-core procrastinator. I should mention that I’m a pretty guilt-ridden person. Guilt beats laziness any day.
Have a wonderfully productive day!