We all start out with good intentions, positive that we will not leave things until the last minute.
Be it at home, work or whilst studying, there are always things that get left, for many reasons; maybe it’s something we don’t know how to tackle or where to start, it maybe something that seems like a huge project and too much to do, or simply that it’s something boring or uninteresting and we just don’t want to do it!
However, there are ways in which we can learn to overcome these issues.
“Eat the frog!” 3 reasons you should do the hardest thing first
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain
Mark Twain is obviously not suggesting we actually eat a frog, but more likely that it is the ugly, disgusting thing on your to-do list that you want to put off doing. However, here are three reasons for ‘eating the frog’ first thing in the morning:
- Your willpower usually have the have the most willpower – Your willpower is usually at its strongest in the morning so this is the perfect time for you to take on that thing you don’t want to do.
- It’s a small win – Getting the ugly thing off of your to-do list feels great. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and small wins actually have the ability to give you more willpower.
- It frees you up to do work that you enjoy – Doing productive work is one of the keys to happiness. By eating your frog first thing in the morning, you get to spend the rest of the day doing the work that you actually enjoy doing.
Focus and concentration are a large part of getting a task done. Make it easy on yourself and remove anything which may distract you.
- Pick a work space that works for you and is the best environment for limited distraction.
- Remove your Phone/iPad/Kindles/Computer etc (If you’re working on a laptop/pc, turn off email notifications and only check emails at specific times).
- Listen to music without lyrics to avoid distraction.
Changing your outlook
- Stop punishing yourself for procrastinating. The more stressed out you are, the harder it’ll be to get your work done.
- Tackle your most important task for 15 minutes. Instead of thinking about the total number of hours you’re about to work for, just start. Tell yourself you’ve only got to do it for 15 minutes, however you’ll likely spend much longer than 15 minutes on your task before you stop working again.
- Break tasks down into small chunks. It can be overwhelming to think about finishing a whole essay or getting through an entire week’s worth of tasks. Instead of thinking about everything you have to do as one big obstacle, break it all down into really tiny pieces.
- Figure out when you are most motivated and plan out your day so you use this time best.
- Give yourself a pep talk for motivation. “Self-talking” is a great way to calm yourself down, get focused, and meet your goals.
- Aim for done over perfect. Imagining the perfect essay, assignment, or project could be what’s holding you back. It’s nothing at all if it’s not finished, so abandon your vision (or fears) of the perfect product. You also can’t fix what doesn’t exist yet
- Promise yourself you’ll get a reward when it’s done and you never know what you might achieve. Bribery, as they say, will get you everywhere.