You all, I am a serious procrastinator. It's actually pretty embarrassing sometimes, how badly I procrastinate.
I know that my biggest downfall as someone who is self-employed, is how poorly I manage my time some days. My husband says it’s biggest downfall, period, and I’m thankful for his honesty in that. Because it's something that we both notice, I know it's something I need to improve on.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am organized as all get out! I love planners, calendars, notebooks, highlighters, color coded pens and tabs, file folders, you just name it.
But doing the things that are most important, in a timely manner... it's like I have amnesia sometimes. And it’s not that I don’t care, I really, really care! I care so much that this last minute scramble almost always leads to anxiety because I don’t want to procrastinate! I don't want to be running behind. I don't want to feel rushed. I don't want to seem as though I'm careless!
So what am I doing about it?....
This year, I was searching the internet for things like the best planner when I came across Jordan Page's block scheduling technique. Now, I don't use this technique exactly because I need a little more structure than that, and if something doesn't fit in a block I just wouldn't do it all together, but I did start implementing one thing from it that is changing everything for me - when I don’t procrastinate on using it.
This little tip will save you so much time and energy, give you more focus and direction in your day, and help you achieve far more (if you have a time management issue like I do). And, the best part is, it is FREE!
Are you dying to hear it yet? Or maybe just intrigued because so far I have you thinking that I am actually some type of squirrel? Regardless... here it is!
SET A TIMER.
Let down, huh? You thought it would be way cooler than that.
But listen, 20-minute timers can become your absolute best tool! When you set that timer, you are committing to working on exactly what need to get done and that alone until that timer goes off. If you worked on that task the full 20 minutes, and it didn't get completed, get your wiggles out, and then set another one and do it again.
This is how I use it (most days):
- list the things I need to do
- prioritize them by importance/deadlines
- set a timer for only one thing at a time
The point of the timers is to make sure you’re giving your full, undivided attention to one thing on your list for the entirety of the timer. This guarantees I get things done more efficiently than if I’m juggling multiple things at once, or not working on a timer and somehow an hour goes by and I’ve done less than when I am on a short, intentional timer.
I choose 20 minutes because that’s a time span that I’m sure I can work on one thing without getting side tracked! Sometimes I bump that to 30 minutes, but no more than that. If I need longer for something, I simply take a break when the first timer goes off, and then set another timer. If I do need more time, that break between helps me stay focused, rather than one twice as long timer that could allow me to get side tracked. If I finish something before the timer I don’t switch gears to the next item right away unless Im really on a short leash that day. Usually I’ll use the remainder the timer to just relax, or do something not on the list.
Anyone can use this!!! For homework, studying, cleaning, doing laundry, answering emails, whatever!
If you give the timer-method a try, and it works for you too, let me know!