Looking for the antidote to missed deadlines and procrastination? This is IT!

Looking for the antidote to missed deadlines and procrastination? This is IT!

Are you looking for the antidote to procrastination?

This is IT – an acronym for INTENTION and TIMEBLOCKING.

In previous discussions, I have discussed the benefits of working 50-minute hours… That is working for 50 minutes, and then taking 10 minutes to walk around, change your state, and re-energise and re-invigorate. The short break also allows the opportunity to re-hydrate and, most importantly, to transition between tasks, to ensure that you approach the new task refreshed and totally focused, with no residue from the previous task.

What is important, though, is to ensure that you have set the INTENTION for the time that you have allocated… The second that you sit at your desk, you should be aware of exactly what it is that you want to achieve from that block of time. What does “finished” look like? If you suffer from procrastination, then I’ll bet that you’re no stranger to staring blankly into space – something that is easily averted through consciously setting the intention.

Ensure also that you have your day blocked out in terms of priorities. Ideally your week should be planned in advance, but at the very least, ensure that you have planned for the following day, before your head hits the pillow. Ensuring that you have a clear structure in place for the following day will allow you to benefit from a better night’s sleep, safe in the knowledge that you are in control, and less likely to be “pinballing” from one event to the next. You are more likely to effectively prioritise your tasks, rather than “fire-fighting” through the day. Remember what Stephen Covey – author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People” – said, “Time management is a misnomer – the challenge is to manage ourselves.” Having benefited from a good night’s sleep, you will also be more alert, energised, and productive throughout your day…

Through blocking your time into 50 minute blocks, for example, you are able to set yourself deadlines throughout your day. Ask any journalist or author about the importance of deadlines… If you have a task that is relatively less time-intensive, then you can block a shorter period of time for its completion – say, 20 minutes, for example. If you allocate a realistic TIMEBLOCK for the task, then you are far more likely to work productively – and focused – towards its completion. Let’s say, for example, that you have five tasks to complete in an eight-hour working day. You are almost certain to procrastinate, and to seek out distractions, as there is no perceived sense of urgency. After a few hours spent  surfing the internet, updating social media, and checking emails, any sense of productivity has all but evaporated.

If, however, you were to timeblock each activity with the intention of completion, how much more effective and productive would your working day be? I’d be prepared to suggest that you’ll actually have “more” time available… If each of the five tasks were able to be completed in a 50 minute timeblock, there would still be three hours remaining in your (eight hour) day. Take an hour for a healthy, nutritious lunch and a vital “re-charge”, and there are still two “extra” hours… Over a five-day working week, that’s an additional ten hours… More than an “extra” day – based on the example of an eight-hour working day, for example. Over four weeks, that would equate to fourty hours, or five (eight hour) working days. Imagine gaining an additional week, every four weeks – the equivalent of thirteen extra weeks a year!

Food for thought? Think about IT!