I’m a natural procrastinator…
as most human beings.
And I am also the intense kind of person so I’m always looking for new strategies and techniques to self-improvement and productivity.
From mid-January to last week I was struggling to find a technique that would help me stop procrastinating. I was really frustrated about everything I was NOT doing or doing in a hurry because I put off until last minute and also feeling sad about letting people down regarding deadlines.
In the other hand, what makes me motivated and focused on the changes I wanna make, even when I’m frustrated about my current results, is looking backwards. In the end of 2015, I watched a 3-video training by Todd Herman and learned one very good technique to keep me motivated – comparing where I am now with where I was in the beginning.
So, last couple of weeks I’ve been digging for productivity techniques and I’m putting some in action with the aim of beating procrastination. Here are the things that are working so far.
Bullet Journal (or any kind of planner)
Back in January I started my own bujo and it’s been a great experience so far. What I love the most is that I can try something and if it doesn’t work, I just stop or change next time. I realized in the beginning I was trying everything I saw in the bullet journal community and now I’m getting in touch with what makes more sense to me. The most important things in my current bullet journal towards productivity are:
- Monthly Logs ~ I add all appointments.
- Deadlines Sheet ~ I write all deadlines with details of what needs to be done.
- Monthly Goals ~ I write my goals for the month as well as the steps to achieve them
- Habits Tracker ~ I write all things I intend to add to my daily routine and then I fill it daily. The aim is to be concious of how much energy I’m putting into what I want to make a habit, so I don’t push too much if I fail in some habits.
- Weekly Planning ~ I write all things I want to accomplish in the week in different areas of my life. This way I can have a balance of what I’m spending my energy in. I also have a list of things I should’ve done the week (or weeks) before.
- Daily Log ~ I keep my tasks in two categories – important and urgent. I also write how I wanna feel that day.
- Week Review ~ I write what worked, what didn’t work and what I can do to improve next week.
More details about some of the things mentioned are covered in the topics below.
Take Notes and Don’t Ovewhelm Your Mind
Something I learned years ago is that keeping a to-do list is a great way to avoid overwhelming your mind. Think of your brain as a computer, it’s important to have a backup system because when it has too much information you can lose everything if it crashes. Writing things you have to do or important notes for the future is the best way to keep your mind clear and in peace. When you write something down, you free your mind of worrying when there are important things to focus in the present. The lists I keep in my bullet journaling currently:
- Perpetual To-Do List ~ I write everything I think of doing or anything that pops in my life without previous notice – important or not. Everyday, when I’m planning the following day it’s one of the lists I look to see if there’s anything I can add to the daily tasks.
- Deadlines Sheet ~ as described before.
- Books I wanna read ~ I’m always getting suggestions of books, this is a great way to know what is my next purchase.
- Pages I wanna scrapbook ~ It’s been hard to find time to scrapbook, so keeping a list of ideas is a great way of not forgetting what stories I wanna tell as also helps to avoid wasting time when I’m in a scrapping moment.
Important and Urgent Principle
I tried daily logs in so may ways and it seemed I was never gonna get to an achievable daily plan until I decided to take a look at Stephen R. Covey‘s system to planning tasks. It reminded me to focus on what matters the most. Now, I’m adding tasks to my daily logs based on what is urgent and what’s important. My goal is to decrease the amount of urgent stuff in the future.
When I think about urgent and important tasks, I end up with an atainable to-do list more likely to be accomplished. I choose the tasks in order of importance, this way if I can’t have everything done that day, I’ll at least have the most important items crossed off.
This is the newest thing I’m trying and I will be able to say it’s working a few days from now. I set specific times for things, so I know how long I can spend in my main activities and how long I’m free to do whatever I want. This is my current schedule:
5:30 am ~ wake up and do my morning routine
10:00 am ~ work on JB Studio designs or Blog
12:00 am ~ cook lunch and lunch time w/ family
2:15 pm ~ work on JB Studio designs or Blog
6:15 pm ~ free time *
*in the free time I do whatever I consider important at the moment – me time, resting, time with family, chores, reading, studying, planning, journaling, etc…
You can see I don’t have an evening routine yet. I’m focusing on my morning routine and this schedule now. I always take babysteps.
Take Baby Steps
I tried to make lots of changes in different areas of my life for so long and it only really worked when I decided to take baby steps. We can only make big changes when we set small habits so I do it slowly, when I feel I’m ok with the one I am working on, then I add a new habit and so on.
So, from all the tips I’m sharing here you can start by adding one or two to your routine and see if it meets your needs. After trying that, come back for the next one and in a few weeks you can see changes happening.
How do you wanna feel?
I love Danielle Laporte‘s approach to goals – she is always looking for things that make her feel as she desires. She says our goals should be focused on how we want to feel and not in material stuff, because we want material things in the aim of feeling something. So, I write in my daily log “How do you want to feel?” and by looking at it I’m always trying to do things that lead me to those feelings. My current desire is to feel happy, inspired, empowered, loved and peaceful. So, everyday I take a quick moment to analyze my tasks and connect them to how I wanna feel, it motivates me to have them done. Besides that, whenever I’m about to get frustrated or stressed, I remind myself I wanna feel happy, empowered and peaceful meaning frustration and stress won’t help me get there.
Give yourself free time and play
I like to read, watch videos, follow online classes, watch series with my family, draw, practice my handwriting, browse instagram and pinterest for ideas, connect with the bujo community, talk to hubby, journal, scrapbook… In the past, I didn’t set any free time in my schedule for those things and then I ended up procrastinating important things to make things that were supposed to make me feel joyful but I was so worried about the things I was procrastinating that I didn’t enjoy the moment. Currently I have some free time in my morning routine which I usually use to read, journal, follow online classes and play with my bujo and I also have free time in the evening when I can choose something that will make me feel as I desire.
Playing is important.
Playing is doing something you love, not because you’re required to, but because that fulfill your soul and heart. When you have some free time and play, you are more likely to stick to your schedule and have things done because your heart and soul is not begging for attention.
I think it’s important to remember that it all boils down to finding what works for you. Building habits and going for your goals and dreams take time. None of this will happen overnight.
It’s up to you to get started and it’s my sincerest hope that you found some useful tips here today to help you do just that.
May you experience a lot of happy moments this year.
Hope you have an amazing creative day.