Kick Procrastination in the Arse
There never seems to be enough time in the day to accomplish all the things we’d like to. Work, family and other activities always find a way to eat up every passing minute and hour. Before you know it, poof, another week, month, or year has gone by, and you still haven’t even begun to focus on what you really wish you were doing.
Enter: timeboxing. That’s right . . . fighting the clock and punching out everything possible within a predetermined window of opportunity!
Used in RAD software design for years, timeboxing can be harnessed in our personal lives, too. It can help you to:
• overcome procrastination.
• stop being a perfectionist.
• avoid wasting time.
• focus on important matters.
• quit over-committing.
• get more done!
While best used on open ended tasks (such as writing this blog post!), timeboxing can be applied to virtually any task or chore. The idea is to decide in advance exactly how much time you will allot to a particular project, stick to it and utilize short windows of time to make it happen.
For example . . .
Instead of thinking: “I’m going to sit at the laptop today until I’ve come up with a blog post on timeboxing. I don’t care how long it takes- it will be done. Then, if there’s still light outside, I’m going to catch some sun.”
Think: “I’m going to give myself thirty minutes to write about timeboxing. If I’m done within that time, cool. If not, I’ll choose to either schedule myself another timeslot tomorrow to continue writing, or trash the whole idea because it’s going nowhere for me. Either way, I’ve put in my time, and feel good about it. Watch out sun- here I come!”
Your mission, should you choose to accept it . . .
1. Select one task/project you’ve really been meaning to accomplish. One that you’ve been putting off because it’s seemed too tedious, or demands more time than you feel you’ve got to sit and devote to it.
2. Pull out your planner and schedule 30 minutes tomorrow, dedicated to absolutely nothing but that task. I’m sure you’re feeling that that’s not nearly enough time to make much progress. But do it anyway.
3. When your allotted appointment with yourself comes around, turn off the cell phone, the TV, and close your email inbox. You’ve got 30 minutes to get started on your project. Do something. Write a draft of that proposal letter. Organize even one corner of that room. Scribble a list of future steps involved in reaching that more complex goal you have in mind.
4. Time’s up. Stop. I know, I know . . . but I don’t care that you’re not done yet. Stop! Evaluate where you’re at. Did you get more done than you guessed you would have? Has that small amount of progress gotten you even more excited about continuing? If you need more time to complete the task, put an additional timeslot in your calendar for a day or two from now. Give yourself the time between to roll more ideas around in your head, and you’ll hit it as hard, or harder, the second go-round.
5. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. Better yet, how you’ve beat the clock, kicked procrastination in the arse, and made timeboxing work for you!