In previous diary entries, ‘lists’ have been a prominent topic in its relationship to procrastination. They tended to evaluate ‘lists’ negatively, as they seem to work against, instead of aiding, efficiency and productivity.
So far, many entries, and writing seem to emphasize a lot of details concerning experiences which are frustrating, though humorous, and methods that are not working. In an attempt to find some balance, and also give those visitors looking for ideas to overcome procrastination, I decided to reference another site/blog that gives some good tips.
The site is at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/blogs/wschachter (Please copy and paste into another browser window because direct linking to this blog slowed down our site) and is titled: “Seven measures of productivity tips and tools.” You can look in the April 2008 archives (April 21) to find the post.
Harvey Schachter gives some concise, easy to understand points, that are optimistic in tone and encouraging to put into action. Having just come across the article earlier this week, I haven’t had a chance to put it into action much. However, already, I found one tip particular useful in attacking my initial procrastination.
It concerns acting right away especially on tasks that can be accomplished in under 5 minutes. That means these tasks I shouldn’t even let get to my official ‘to-do’ lists. It sounds simple, not radical, but effective in reducing my lists. Because they don’t make to any list, I don’t have to think about it, order, or debate it – they just get done before my thoughts start to interfere. Before long, after knocking off many of these mini-tasks, they start to add up, and I realize I already got some chunks accomplished before even getting to a list.
On a emotional, and psychological level, it provides a boost. The feeling is similar to having a productive warm up prior to a workout. The circulation is going, the mood is elevated, and the focus is right there. After a good warm up, it’s easier to get going on bigger and more time consuming items on a list or scheduler.
Before I get too excited at this slight hint of progress, Mr. Schachter warns that there should be a time limit on these mini-tasks that you do right away. I certainly can understand why as it’s quite easy to loose track of time and spend almost half the day on email!
To continue with the workout analogy, the main thing I’ve improved since reading the article is that instead of using my warm up time to plan all the intricate exercises in my main workout, I actually use the warm up time to directly warm up and do exercises that prepare me for the main workout.
Overall, I guess it’s a strange way to look at it, but I’m trying to do all I can to prevent tasks from even making it to my ‘to-do’ lists, by finishing them so I don’t have to write it down and remember to do it later. Of course this won’t always work, but this kind of reverse psychology results in some more explosiveness during the mornings.