Self, Health And Wellness

5 Ways To Stop Procrastinating & Get More Done

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5 Time Management Tips & Skills For How To Be More Productive And Stop Procrastinating

Time management is an amazing skill that you can hone and develop with the right practice.

If you want to know how to be more productive, whether it's at work or just at life in general, then creating a set of effective time management skills will boost your ability to focus and help you learn how to stop procrastinating.

You can learn how to be productive and end procrastination by changing the way you approach tasks and even how you determine productive things to do during your day.

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When I interview successful business people who are at the apex of their careers, the one thing they all wish they had more of is time.

In life, time is the great equalizer when it comes to being more productive.

Why do some people get twice as much done in half the time while others are lagging behind, always stressed and sounding like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland who says, "I'm late, I'm late for a very important date"?

There are secrets on how to manage the seconds, minutes, and hours that make up the 24 hours we get each and every day.

First, you need a strong dose of determination to stamp out the procrastination that shows up for just about everyone, in one shape or another.

Do you start with the easiest tasks to get them out of the way and then feel the need to sprint to get the more important projects finished? Or do you take the hardest one and suddenly, it's time to sleep and all the little "to-do's" stay trapped in the long list of forgotten items until that "uh-oh" moment when they finally get the long overdue attention?

I recently interviewed a man ready to start his third new company. He has a lot of money now and could relax and coast. I wondered why he was putting so much effort into another new business and he replied that he is an adrenaline junky. Then, he revealed his secret to success to being more productive.

"Learning how to play the game of time management," he said. Time can be your servant and not your master.

Here are 5 ways to manage your time and be more productive:

1. Create "timeboxes".

Divide your schedules into separate time periods called timeboxes. Each has its own deliverable deadline and budget. This way, you can keep your eyes on the clock.

The increased pressure is actually good for battling procrastination, so you can better focus on your tasks and get more done.

2. Use the Pomodoro technique.

The Pomodoro technique, or "Pomodoro timer", is incredibly effective for teaching you how to manage time. Once you have the basics of timeboxing, use the Pomodoro technique, which is based on having 25-minute timeboxes of focused concentration separated by a 10-minute break to allow your mind to recover and be ready for more intense thinking.

Using a timer at the beginning of each focused work time, go through your tasks. In just setting the timer you are already showing your determination to follow through.

3. Organize your things.

If you use a lot of time looking for files and things you need, you are wasting good production time for your actual task.

In this day of data overkill, it is good to keep your memory sharp and data labeled file folders organized as an updated electronic to-do list can do the trick.

This will help you accelerate your workflow and keep you from suffering information overload. Think of it as a memory tickler that helps combat procrastination.

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4. Use the GTD Method.

The GTD Method comes from Dave Allen's book, Getting Things Done, the most complete guide to making time work quickly and easily. His themes are to capture, clarify, organize, reflect, and engage.

First, record what you have to do and break down to actionable work items. His whole system is clear and concise and his book has been a winner for years and years.

5. Break repetition of time-wasting patterns.

The hypothesis is that in business, we are here to solve problems and that is good. However, once the same problem keeps occurring time after time, it is now a pattern. This is where a lot of time and aggravation show up.

Patterns keep repeating because of outdated assumptions. So get to the heart of the pattern repetition and it can lead you to find easy and more effective ways to be productive.

By using these productivity tips, you'll find that your work efficiency will increase and you'll struggle to complete tasks less frequently. The more you begin to look at time as an ally, the more effective you can be. Capture time, and you capture success.

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Dr. Sylvia Lafair is a change management expert. Her programs and executive coaching help decrease conflict and increase cooperation in the workplace.

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This article was originally published at INC. Reprinted with permission from the author.