By Netwomen Ambassador Farlan
You might be thinking: ‘I have 24 hours in a day but they seem to just vanish!’ You’re not alone. I find the biggest hindrance to being productive is distractions and procrastination. Procrastination is the thief of time. Procrastination is not laziness, in fact, it can often suggest the opposite. It suggests that those of us who struggle with it, also struggle with perfectionism. We want things to be so well done and perfect that we get scared that we are not going to be able to reach that standard so we trick ourselves into thinking- if we don’t even start then we don’t have to confront ourselves and disappoint anyone if it’s not perfect. But this is counter intuitive, right? We end up disappointing ourselves even more by not getting started! It can take its toll on our self-worth and it can be a repetitive cycle. C’mon perfectionists! We have the smarts and the potential, let’s apply ourselves. Easier said than done I know so here’s some exact ways I’ve learned to overcome my debilitating procrastinating habits over the years that I want to share to help someone else be more productive too.
1. Try the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that encourages people to work with the time they have. The thinking behind this technique is that the timer adds a sense of urgency and encourages focussed bursts of high quality work rather than thinking you have the whole day to finish something. Using this method, you are to break your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. These intervals are referred to as pomodoros. After about four pomodoros, you take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes. This works well to tackle my procrastination when used in tandem with the next 4 ways that I’m going to mention.
2. Get the most out of your phone!
The latest software update for the Apple iPhone is iOS 16. With this update there are amazing new features to help you be productive. With the Focus filters you can set boundaries within Apple apps like Calendar, Mail, Messages and Safari. For example, choose a set of Tabs to show up in Safari while in the Work Focus, or hide your work calendar when you’ve left work for the day. It also has a Focus filter API, Apple developers can use the signal you’re using to enable Focus to hide distracting content that may put you off your work. You can receive all the notifications after you turn focus mode off. You can even have the focus mode turn on automatically at a set time or location, or while using a certain app. This way you can schedule it to turn on whenever you walk into the office or at the set time you start and end your work day!
3. Live study with me streams
Okay, most, if not all of us, are out of school and studying, but! Bear with me here- studying really just means an amount of time we are to focus on something and be productive. One of the hardest things about starting a task is that it can feel isolating and you know you could sit and network with your circle if you weren’t having to do this task. Or you think, everyone else is having a good time outside and I’m stuck in here needing to do this. That is why study with me live streams on YouTube are so greatly productive because it takes the loneliness out of it AND the distractions. Open it up in a window in the corner of your screen and you’ll have a study buddy with you that is also studying and keeping you accountable to your Pomodoro method. The best part about it is that they are so super disciplined and it’s inspiring and motivating for you to get the work done- no distractions! Here are some of my favourite streamers: https://www.youtube.com/c/
4. Eat the frog first method
This phrase means to get the most important thing done first, even if you don’t necessarily want to do it- dread it even. This habit helps us prioritize and manage our time so that we focus on and complete the most important things in our lives. Putting first things first also means learning to overcome fears and being strong during difficult times. It’s living life according to what matters most and making your time available productive.
5. Get a focus app
If you really struggle with going on your phone doing non-work related things when you’re trying to get stuff done and be productive, this option is for YOU. So, the only focus app out there that has actually helped me is the Forest app. Once you set a timer, it plants a virtual tree and if you go off the app to procrastinate then it kills the virtual tree! Its surprisingly motivating
because the aim is to complete the whole timer you set without being distracted and you can collect the virtual trees in a virtual garden and share with friends! Highly recommend planting the trees with friends for that extra accountability.
Here is the link to the app: https://www.forestapp.cc/
Using these tricks and methods allows us to get over that hurdle of starting and gets us into our focus groove, there can be no better feeling than that! Remember, doing it imperfectly is better than wanting it to be perfect and not doing it at all. Let me know if you try any of them and how you get on and if you feel more productive! Throw yourself into things. I’d love to hear if it works for you too.