Procrastination is unbeatable.
At least that’s what I used to think when I was younger. No matter how many times I tried, I always ended up completing my assignments at the last moment.
A year ago, No matter how hard I pushed myself to work, I could never make it to the bottom of my to-do-list, even if I had very little on my plate. Little did my younger-self know that procrastination is a habit build by long-term wrong decisions.
Whether it be cooking, studying or working on the desk you can use these productivity principles almost anywhere. So, Here are the 3 anti-procrastination principles that have made me a lot more productive and efficient.
*whispers* Also, don’t forget to check out my favorite apps and products! 😉
The Pareto Law (or 80/20 Rule)
What it Pareto Law?
Wanna get more done, by doing less? Yes, I am serious.
Use the Pareto Law.
Discovered by Vilfred Pareto in the year 1906, the law says that 80% of the outcomes are the result of 20% of work. Once you find the sweet spot in your work, you can get more done in less time.
So, how do I apply it to my daily routine?
Firstly, Brainstorm your to-do-list and prioritize the tasks based on their importance and urgency. Then choose the task that would make all your other works easier.
Example of Pareto Rule (80/20 rule)
Let’s say Taniya has an upcoming physics Exam on the topic projectile motion. Here’s how she used the rule.
STEP 1: She brainstormed a quick to-do-list which included her day-to-day tasks as well. It looked somewhat like this,
- Reading a Non-fiction book (30 mins)
- Physics Exam preparation (Tomorrow)
- Physics Assignment (Due in 2 days)
STEP 2: She looked for the point of leverage
So, In order to prepare for the exam, she has basically 3 major tasks – Formula memorization, Solving the example and Solving the problems at the end of the chapter.
Tanya quickly finds the sweet spot and decides to start memorizing the formulas related to that topic. Next she chooses to solve all the examples because that would build her concepts stronger. Moreover, if she has any doubts she can quickly refer to the solution. Later she moves on to solving the back-questions.
Half way through the back-questions, she remembers that she has to cook the dinner. By the time she finishes with her daily chores, it’s time for the bed.
Can you imagine how things would have been if she started working the other way round? [Back questions – solved examples – formula memorization]
This may sound like an obvious thing, but Trust Me!
It will not seem that obvious when the deadline is right in front of you.
Looking for a Daily-Planner? Check this out!
- Lauret Blanc Daily Planner and Organizer, Gratitude and Affirmation Journal with Weekly and Monthly Review- A5 Size, Plan for 6 Months, Hardbound (Style 3)
- The positive store, Dream Believe Create Daily Planner for Time Management Undated Law of Attraction Gratitude Journal with Hardcover, 220 Pages (90 Days Planner + Notes), 90 GSM Paper
The Pomodoro Technique was developed by student Francesco Cirillo, in the late 1980s. It has 6 basic elements:
ELEMENT 1: Decide what you need to get done. The best way to finish a difficult task efficiently, is by breaking it down into smaller pieces. Decide which smaller piece you need to get done first.
ELEMENT 2: Set a time for 25 minutes and start working on that particular piece of work. I personally find, Pomodoro Smart Timer (A Productivity Timer App), very helpful.
ELEMENT 3: Devote yourself fully to that task for 25 minutes. Do not let your mind wander. If it does, bring it back and focus again.
ELEMENT 4: As soon as the Pomodoro timer rings, Strike off the task from your list. This will boost your confidence and encourage you to finish more work.
ELEMENT 5: Take a 5 minutes break. Personally, I prefer doing something productive during these short breaks. This helps me maintain the flow throughout the sessions.
ELEMENT 6: Complete these Pomodoro sessions 4 times and take a longer break of 15 minutes to 20 minutes.
Looking for good timers? Check this out!
- Outgeek Cooking Timer Creative Apple Shaped Wind up Countdown Timer for Kitchen Baking
- P-Plus International Digital Kitchen Timer & Stopwatch, Large Digits, Loud Alarm, Magnetic Stand(Round Pink)
- XIMI VOGUE Timer (Fruit Series-Strawberry Hc-20460)
5 Seconds Rule
This is a technique discovered by Mel Robbins and I, personally, love this rule! It’s based on a simple principle of acting on your instinct within 5 seconds.
Why 5-seconds in particular?
Well, you can customize it as per your need.
This rule can be divided into 2 phases – First, When you feel the urge to work on something, and second, to act on that urge within 5 seconds.
PHASE 1: When you feel the urge to work on something.
As soon as you realize that you need to get something done, you’ll hesitate a little. The first thought that will come to your mind? I’ll do it later. And you fall into the vicious procrastination loop.
Unless it’s illegal or self-sabotaging (even in long-term), you should make up your mind. Irrespective of how you feel.
PHASE 2: Take action on that urge within 5 seconds.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is gonna feel quite uneasy in the beginning. But if deep inside you know that you just need that push to get rolling, then so be it. Take action on that urge.
When you hesitate on taking action, the brain starts freaking-out out of survival instinct and kills the urge within 5 seconds (if the action is not taken).
The purpose of these tricks are to push you out of your comfort zone. It’s not going to be easy (obviously! Or else why would you be reading this?!). Most of the time, you would have to push yourself a little to overcome the initial resistance.
Your brain has been designed to keep survival-instinct-challenging tasks off the chart. It does not understand the difference between literally being in danger and moving out of comfort zone to grow as a person, but your mind can. And that’s exactly what makes you stand out from rest of the creation.
Sometimes following your heart is not a wise choice, but pushing yourself to avoid long-term regrets is.
Have a healthy productive week.