I suffered from what some would call “overcommitting”. I had the tendency to want to do it all. Although, my intentions were good, this was unrealistic and led to disappointments and anxiety. Disappointments because, well, let’s face it, you can’t get everything done. There is only so much time in a day. Anxiety when faced with an amount of tasks that exceeds the amount of time to accomplish them. Often attempting to give a little bit of time to everyone or all your time to only a few. Either way, you aren’t capable of being your best when you stretch yourself thin.
Not to worry, you can break the cycle of procrastination. The solution is simple, but takes discipline to achieve. Organization is key to efficiency and will eliminate overcommitment naturally. With the right tools and dedication, you will succeed. Not only will you eliminate the fallout of procrastination, you will accomplish so much more in life. Following a regimented schedule will drastically diminish anxiety, strengthen your relationships, and allow you to grow in ways you only dreamt of till now.
Make a To-Do List
The first order of business is writing out a list that includes everything that you intend to do. I find this activity very healing. It frees up your mind, no longer needing to worry about everything you need to do. It is written down, it will get taken care of. This will allow you to take a look at your tasks from a bird’s eye view and create your task list in a way that is both realistic and actionable.
Prioritize Your Tasks
Decide which tasks need completed first. Order your list by most important to least. Focus on the most important tasks first. Stop worrying about the unimportant tasks, they are in your list and you will get to them when you can.
Not-so-fun Stuff First
Procrastination is your biggest enemy. Not every task is fun, but some are necessary, such is life. Knock out your least favorite tasks early in the day, but don’t trump priority. Avoid the stress of avoidance and just get it done. Reward yourself after accomplishing these tasks. Give yourself a little break when a task is completed. This gives you something to look forward to and helps in completion of those tasks you tend to put off.
Automate Your Tasks
Take a look at your to-do list. Look for items that you do regularly. These are the tasks that are prime candidates for automation. Automation takes a little time to set up, but pays for itself down the road. A simple grocery list can be a form of automation. Take stock of the items that you buy regularly and write them down. Use this as a sort of shopping template. Every time you plan to go shopping you can place a checkmark next to the items that you need. Now reuse this template every time you go shopping. Get creative and think about all the other tasks in your life that can be automated. Getting outside has been proven to boost creative thinking. Give it a shot, take a step back from your planning and go for a hike.
Now that you have officially begun automating a task, you can avoid creating a new list every week and save time by avoiding aisle perusal. This will also help your pocket book by avoiding impulse purchases. Let’s figure that you save 10 minutes by using a grocery template every week. That is 520 minutes a year that is now freed up for other tasks. You can take this a step further and use an app, or order your groceries online. If you work in an office setting, taking the time to learn Excel can really save you in the long run. You can create macros that will significantly reduce repeated tasks. Automate your email by creating templates, you’ll be surprised by how much time this can save. Do you visit the same websites everyday? Setup your web browser to automatically open up the pages you want with one click. Even if you only save a minute a day, 5 times a week, you will save yourself 260 minutes each year. Now imagine if you could automate 30 minutes of work a day. This would free up over a week of time, or 182 hours a year.
You can accomplish everything else, but left unprepared and you will be right back where you started. Not being prepared can cost you big time. While in college I owned a house painting company. I had twelve employees and a lot to juggle. There were a couple times that I sent a crew to a house, only to realize that I hadn’t ordered the paint or materials to get the job done. I was paying them to stand around until I showed up with the materials needed. This cost me, not only financially, it set my schedule back as well. This left me with two choices, reschedule every job or pay overtime in an effort to stay on schedule. Neither of these options are ideal. All of this could have been avoided if I had planned accordingly and was properly prepared.
Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to mastering efficiency and eliminating the fallout of procrastination, overcommitment and stress.