People who procrastinate often promise they won’t do it again, but they often go right back to putting things off, writes Jamie Rosenstein at Lifehack. If that sounds like you, Rosenstein explains tactics to help keep you on task.
1. The Pomodoro Technique: Set a timer and work on a task that will take you about 25 minutes. After the 25 minutes, take a five-minute break. After four work sessions, take a longer 30-minute break. The quick deadlines can make you more productive.
2. Parkinson’s Law: This “law” posits that work fills the time you have. Giving yourself a set start and end time can help you focus on tasks and ignore distractions.
3. The Pareto Principle: This principle finds that 20% of your time is dedicated to your most important goals. To make this work, focus on efficiency and use your most alert time—whether that’s right when you get in to work or after lunch—for your most challenging tasks.
4. The Quadrant Method: Categorize your tasks with columns labeled Urgent and Not Urgent and rows labeled Important and Not Important. When you have them sorted out, start with Urgent/Important tasks, and then move to Not Urgent/Important. Leave Not Urgent/Not Important tasks and limit your time on Urgent/Not Important ones.
5. Time Chunking: With this approach, you perform certain tasks only at certain times or days of the week. This can help you focus on the tasks at hand.
— Adapted from “Five Ways to Beat Your Procrastination Habit—Now!,” Jamie Rosenstein, Lifehack.