Forever procastinating? 10 productivity hacks to help you get things done 2 weeks ago

Forever procastinating? 10 productivity hacks to help you get things done

Guilty as charged.

I am a shocking procrastinator and am forever finding myself finishing tasks and jobs with just minutes to spare on deadlines or having taken way longer than strictly necessary.

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And ever since working from home started, this has only gotten worse.

Being in the house and working from my sofa or dining table, there are just so many more things to be distracted by. Putting on a wash, giving the fridge a clear-out, scrolling TikTok videos or reading Goop or the Daily Mail online, the list is endless – and my ability to fritter away time on these seemingly also so.

And then, once I actually sit down to get stuck in, my list of tasks suddenly seems overwhelming and really flipping scary. I mean – how can I possibly get all this done – and how can I prioritise one thing over another when everything suddenly seems pressing and urgent?

Turns out – a few calming breaths and some good, old logic will get you far – and make it so much easier to stay on top of your day and get things done. Feeling like your to-do list has spiralled out of control? Here are 10 easy hacks to get things done today:

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1. Give your inbox a clean-out

Clean slates are where it is at – and you won't believe how cathartic it will feel to have an empty inbox.

Get stuck in, and get rid of half-done replies, drafts that won’t go anywhere, and offer notifications from shops you never order from anyway. Pick one morning or afternoon a week and dedicate it solely to detoxing your inbox – you will regret not doing it sooner.

2. Set yourself dedicated times during the day to check your e-mail

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Forever checking your e-mail and replying to ones you feel are urgent can take up a lot of time, and can also be a killer for your productivity flow.

Try to set aside dedicated slots throughout the day where you check and respond to e-mails – that way, you stay on top of your e-mails and don't let the constant interruption control you.

 

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3. Plot your day the night before

Preparation is everything, and by prepping a little the night before, you will be able to start your day feeling less overwhelmed. Write down your to-do list, prioritise, and – if needed – try to juggle things around if needed. You can even go as far as putting out your clothes, prepping your lunch and even laying out your gym clothes if you are trying to fit in a workout at some point the next day too.

4. Prioritise

If you have a million things on your to-do list when you start work in the morning, the most effective thing to do is to ruthlessly prioritise. Make a list of all the tasks that need to be done that day – and also the ones that can wait until tomorrow or even later in the week.

Now, out of the things that need to be done today, prioritise the things that are most urgent and important, and start there. Getting the most important bits out of the way early will make you less stressed – and will free up space for other, smaller tasks too.

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5. Focus only on today

When you have an overwhelming to-do list and the tasks are piling up, it can be easy to try to do everything at once – even jobs and tasks that are for another day – or next week.

Here is where you need to be ruthless and focus solely on the things that need to get done today, and ignore other things. And then, once you have completed the bits that needed to be done today, you can get ahead and get going on jobs that are for later – but only when today's jobs are ticked off the list.

6. Limit distractions

When you are sitting down to work, it is so easy to be distracted by things like incoming e-mails, a ping from your family WhatsApp group, a notification from Instagram that someone liked your latest reel.

When you really need to hunker down and get things done, don't be shy about turning the sound off on your phone, putting on some headphones and closing every other tab on your laptop down – including your e-mail.

 

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7. Try the '15-minute win'

Focus on some smaller jobs and tasks that you know won't take too long to accomplish and get these done. You will free up space on your to-do list and feel so great for not having put these off and rather just tackled them head-on and got them ticked off your list.

8. Can any tasks be delegated or removed completely?

Sometimes we get so focused on blasting through our to-do list that we forget to stop and think about the tasks ahead – and if it really is necessary that we do them all ourselves.

Take a look at your to-do list and see can any of it, in fact, be delegated – or, if you are realising it is not even that important, removed completely?

9. Become a planner – and stick to it

I am a big fan of planning things in a way so that I can visually see them. Which is why I still use an actual calendar to write things down in – and have a calendar stuck to my fridge at home – so that the whole family can know what is happening and when.

Yes, I know there are apps and gadgets and watches and phones to keep you up to speed on your day and your tasks, but personally, I feel more in control when I can write things down – and tick them off as I go along.

Try finding a system that works for you when it comes to planning out your day and your to-do lists, and stick to it.

10. Don't forget to breathe

It is easy to feel overwhelmed and overstretched when you have a million balls in the air and things on your plate that need to get done.

But research has shown that we are, in fact, less effective when we try to multitask and do too many things at once rather than focus on one thing – or job – at a time.

So take a deep breath and focus on one task with your full attention – and only when you have gotten this done, move on to the next item on your to-do list.