Whether we fritter hours on Facebook, make endless cups of office coffee, fiddle with tiny tasks or do chores instead of working in our home office, it’s how we avoid tackling the bigger tasks or projects.
We all have days we’ve lost our mojo for a project – often because there are less favoured tasks involved or a fear that’s holding us back.
I know that one of my biggest reasons for procrastinating is when number or figures are involved – these are not my strong point and I don’t have a natural flair. I do value knowing my numbers in my business and for our household budget, but I’ll do almost anything else – including cleaning the microwave – to avoid tackling it.
The same happens when our to do list feels overwhelming. We end up achieving very little and often get cross with ourselves in the process.
So what can you do to beat procrastination?
One of the best productivity tips that I’ve found transformational in my own life and work is to decide on my MITs – my Most Important Tasks – for the day.
The key here is to limit yourself to 3 tasks or to-dos and to write them down the night before if possible.
By writing them down the night before, you stay flexible to the ebb and flow of the week and set yourself up for a better night’s sleep. You’ll not be lying in bed worrying about all the things you need to get done.
So how do you work out which are your MITs?
The best rule of thumb is to think about which activities or tasks will make the biggest impact to your business or your job. For example, prioritising follow up with clients or leads rather than spending an unstructured hour posting on social media, or finishing your budget report for an external meeting rather than answering random emails.
Picking out an important task means you have thought through your priorities. If you have a business plan, career plan or action plan, then pick tasks that will further those goals.
You also need to be realistic about how much time you have and how much time each tasks takes. This will also help you develop successful planning habits and beat that procrastination.
What about the rest?
However, if you’re still panicking at the thought of all the things that won’t get done if you just prioritise three MITs, then don’t.
Simply have rolling to do list that you select your daily MITs from, depending on how urgent or important they are and how your week is going.
If you crack through your MITs and have time to spare, you can knock off a few extra items off your to-do list and you’ll feel like you’re winning!
Personally, I like to keep the morning for my MITs, including , and have some time later in the day for the smaller tasks. If you give yourself a chunk of time for the smaller tasks, you can often knock them off the list quickly.
Or, if you’re the boss or self employed, why not finish work early and indulge in some ‘me time’ to go for a run, do yoga, get some home jobs done or pick up your little one from nursery early and treat yourselves to a slice of cake!
What methods do you use to get on top of your to-do list? Do you use MITs already? Or does your to-do list send you into a panic? Feel free to share your tips and to-do list challenges in the comment section below.
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