Despite your best intentions, it is all too easy to lose track of time and end up behind on your goals for the day. In the interest of helping you to be more productive, here are some ways to trick your brain into getting ahead.
Start your day off simply
As a general rule, how you start off your morning directly impacts the flow of the rest of your day. This is why you should start your day with a simple task you can complete in no time. Because it is not a daunting challenge, you will not procrastinate about starting it; and since it is easily completed, you will already feel inspired about getting things done.
Harness that early inspiration to tackle the big stuff
Now that you have completed a task, embrace that feeling of satisfaction and look at the list of challenges you have for the day. Pick the hardest one — because once that one is done, everything else is guaranteed to be easier and less likely to bring on procrastination. If the task is so big that you don’t know where to start, then break it down into small tasks, which will make it easier to finish.
Breaking big tasks down into smaller ones still equals the same overall amount of work, but it organizes your thinking so you can work more efficiently. You will also feel less like procrastinating when you know you can accomplish the goal in a matter of steps. Each smaller task you complete towards the larger goal will act as incentive to keep you going strong until the end.
Try to establish a schedule for the day
If you approach each day knowing a basic outline that you consistently follow, you can deal more efficiently with last-minute surprises. Starting off the morning with a general idea of how you will progress from one activity to the next enables you to be prepared for what the day will bring you. When surprises crop up, you will already know what the least busy time of the day is to make up unexpected tasks.
Don’t be tempted by distraction
Procrastination has a codependent relationship with distraction. It happens to everyone — you glimpse over and see your email client is open, and pretty soon you’re checking your inbox instead of working on your project. Or your internet browser is open and soon you’re looking at your Facebook timeline instead of tackling a report. You need to eliminate and remove all sources of distraction in order to focus on the task at hand. Otherwise, you will continue to have your attention drawn elsewhere.
Reward yourself for a job well done
Small rewards, like a pat on the back, can be very motivating. Be sure to establish set breaks and include small rewards for yourself to enjoy throughout the day as tasks are completed. Splurge on a mocha latte or buy yourself some new music, (songs on iTunes run about $1.29 on average).
Be sure to include big rewards you can work towards at the end of the week or month, like that new pair of shoes you have been eyeing up or the latest movie release. Showing some appreciation to yourself for your hard work is another way of inspiring yourself to do more.
—The Alternative Daily