Procrastinating is like air to me some days, so I have to actively try hard not to procrastinate. My best defence is writing lists… lots of lists. I have to be careful though, because some days I have just too many lists on the go that it overwhelms me and I begin procrastinating. And so the cycle continues.
So here are my tips to end procrastinating and start prioritising your to do list.
Commit to using only one method for your list, whether that be your smart phone, or good old pen and paper. Having a collection of ‘notes’ or ‘reminders’ etc distributed around your house, handbag or nappy bag in no organised manner is not going to help you prioritise, so form a habit of just using the one place to write your list. I prefer my phone, because I have it with me literally everywhere I go.
2. List all your tasks for the day
I usually list everything in my phone either the night before or before my morning shower, even regular tasks like packing the boys daycare bags. Don’t assume that you will remember everything, write out all of your tasks including family/household, work, groceries/dinner, appointments etc. You can download my free Daily Hustle To Do List here or join the tribe below!
Use headings to categorise your list so that you can break your list down into chunks. It appears more achievable this way. Go crazy with the highlighter or, if using your phone/ipad, then go cray with the digital highlighter. I’m a fan of colour and it helps me to stay motivated if I can clearly see which tasks are highlighted as urgent.
4. Get shit done
Its tempting to tackle a heap of smaller tasks first just to get shit done, but is this really helping you to prioritise? Probably not. So start by highlighting the tasks that are more urgent or are going to take the longest and start with those.
5. Outsource or delegate
Can you outsource any of your tasks? I’m all about outsourcing, and so should you! I don’t necessarily mean paying someone to do it (but if you can, then do it!) but If I can assign a task to my husband then I most definitely will. If in the workplace, think about whether or not you can delegate a task to a staff member or colleague. I’ve always been one to just handle it myself because either in my mind its just quicker to do it myself, or I mindful that I don’t want to appear as though i’m trying to offload work. But, once I let go of those unhelpful thoughts and recognised that there are other people around me just as capable then it became a lot easier to delegate.
6. Be realistic
It’s not realistic to think that you are going to get through a list of 20 major tasks, (unless they are little things that don’t require a lot of effort). So my rule of thumb is no more than 5 must do tasks, that way it’s easier for me to identify what are the urgent, must do and nice to do (if time permits) but doesn’t effect the running of the day. Like, dinner is obviously a must, but folding the washing is not necessarily a must. This also helps me stay on top of things for the week, so I don’t lose track of things and risk important tasks falling off and getting forgotten (easier said than done).
7. Avoid multitasking
Whilst multitasking might work for some, it doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, multitasking doesn’t actually work effectively for anyone. Some people are just better at ‘task-switching’ than others. So, try to direct your focus on doing one task at a time, and doing that one task efficiently!
8. Be flexible
Our days can be chaotic, so it’s natural that things are going to suddenly pop up that throws out our day. Be open to having to reshuffle your to do list throughout the day. Just make sure you give yourself the time to reassess your priorities and reshuffle as needed.
Always reflect on your to do list at the end of the day. Reallocate tasks that didn’t get done to another day. I hardly ever get through all of my tasks on my to do list, but I try to make sure they get reallocated to another day. At the end of the day, I glance over my to do list, high five myself for getting something done then let go and worry about it another day ?
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