Today marks history for Take Your Success. It started with an energetic email from a student at Indiana University who pitched a guest post. This guy asked me to publish his thoughts on being more productive. I read the post and approved.
The content below is relatively similar to other posts on my site, but a different perspective can be extremely valuable. So, Euan Swan will take it from here with the first ever guest post in the short legacy of TYS.
Have you ever just sat down, powered up your computer, went on the internet, and didn’t do anything productive? I know I sure have. In fact, I am still guilty of doing it from time to time. It’s almost a modern-day stress reliever. I really think that browsing the internet has become this generation’s pastime.
Just think about it. How often do you get on Netflix and binge watch your favorite show? Probably at least once a week. How often do you get on Facebook and scroll through your News Feed? Probably a lot more than you would like to know. Because of the internet, distracting ourselves from actually getting work done has become much easier.
It seems almost everyone procrastinates on a level that they’re probably not comfortable with, but simply can’t put in the effort to stop. Why does this happen? I think it’s due to the fact that accessing the internet has become extremely easy. So is there a way to stop procrastinating and actually get stuff done?
Yes. There are actually multiple ways that you can stop this bad habit, but they all take practice. You might be rolling your eyes, but if you actually do practice productivity, I promise that you will find yourself getting more work done in even shorter amounts of time. You might be saying, “Well that sounds easy enough.” But in reality, in order to be productive you must understand that time is a forward moving dimension, of which you can never gain any back. In order to use the time that you are given to the full ability, you must focus your attention.
So you might be saying, “Ok I get what you’re saying, but how do I actually focus on getting my work done when I try to do that all the time to no avail?” Well first, there are probably multiple things that are influencing your focus, which is why you may feel like you can never get anything done. Second, there are actually multiple strategies to re-focus your attention on your work, rather than becoming distracted.
Here are a few strategies that will help to get you started on managing your time more effectively:
1. Get rid of your distractions.
That means Facebook, Netflix, your smart phone, or anything else that keeps you from getting your work done. It’s so easy to get on Facebook or start watching a Netflix show, and before you realize it, one hour has passed. Whatever way you see fit, don’t allow yourself to give in to the leisure of distractions. I have listed two examples of getting rid of distractions below…
- Give your phone to your roommate when you’re trying to be more productive.
- As for your computer, if you need it to get work done, make sure you block off certain web pages. (FocalFilter works for all web browsers.)
If you feel like you have any other distractions in your area while you’re trying to get your work done, make sure you find a way to get rid of them for the time being. A clean environment improves mental focus.
2. Practice time management.
Make sure that you keep track of your time. It’s important that you don’t get distracted while you’re working, but it’s equally as important that you do not focus too much on your work.
When you’re writing an essay, two hours may pass in the blink of an eye and before you know it, you’ve missed out on previous plans that you made. Break your time up into manageable chunks in which you have a specific task that you want to perform. During that period of time, focus on that specific task. Once that time period is finished, move onto your next task.
Keep track of the time, whether it’s on a clock or a watch. Time is the most valuable asset in the universe, so don’t waste it!
3. Take breaks.
It’s almost impossible to work for 6 hours straight without taking a break, unless your name is Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to make sure that you get your work done on time, but it’s also important that you don’t overwork yourself.
A habit that I’ve found is quite useful is to take 15 minutes to 20 minutes for every two hours that you work. During this time off, allow yourself a few distractions. After doing so, make sure you get straight back to work though. By practicing this break, you’ll find that your work productivity will increase tenfold.
These three methods are only a few of the ways that I practice time management and productivity. In the end, practicing time management requires that you actually do it. You can read this post back to front multiple times, but you’re not going to start magically managing your time better without any real effort.
Create a schedule and stick to it. Once you become consistent with your schedule, you may find that you have a lot more free time on your hands. Make sure to enjoy your free time when you have it, but get back to work when the time comes.
Remember – “Work Hard, Play Hard.”
Good luck on your journey to save time, the most valuable asset in the universe!
Euan writes other content about success on his website.