I know what you might be thinking–“Samantha, really? Another post about being behind in work? When does it end???” And you know, that’s a good question. Never do I feel like I’m in a place where procrastination doesn’t exist in my life. And I feel like maybe you guys can relate to this feeling–especially my busy boss babes.
I’ve shared a few tips and tricks I use to try and maximize the amount of time I have in a day without completely overwhelming myself (link here: Work Hard, Live Easy). But sometimes this advice is hard to follow when you don’t know why you’re struggling so hard to even comprehend how much you have to do. “There’s no time to relax when I have thirty minutes to turn in this project proposal and walk my dog before I have to go to work for eight hours. How have I not learned my lesson? WHEN DOES IT END???” Listen, I get it. And I think I can help. At least, I think I might be able to provide some clarity on why this might be happening to you.
I can’t take all the credit. I was actually walking through Barnes & Noble looking for a completely different book, when I stumbled upon a section with works dedicated to helping people get their lives together (literally a sign from the Gods). I picked one up, and man I wish I could remember what it was called, and I started just flipping through the pages. The book was very conversational and honest about the two biggest components to developing a certain type of work ethic–procrastination and prioritization.
Now we all know about, and blame our problems on, procrastination. But we don’t typically think about his sister, prioritization. We’re prone to blaming our stressful days on our lack of time to get things done, or the fact that there are just too many things to do. The author of this book mentioned that a lack of prioritization is just as crippling to a productive day as procrastination. So I started thinking about all those days I felt like there just wasn’t enough time for me to get everything on my to-do list done. I remember taking a couple hours to simply draft the list and then finding that I had fifty plus items on it (okay, that might be a dramatization, but you get the point).
Realistically, how are we supposed to get a weeks worth of work done in one day? The answer: we’re not. In reality, we don’t really need all fifty tasks on our to-do list. If there’s still food in the refrigerator, don’t waste an hour going grocery shopping when you still haven’t turned in that overdue assignment. What I found so inspiring about this book was the author’s push to admission–admitting we can’t do it all. And that’s okay. Make your to-do list, and then be realistic about it. Can you really draft the next three posts for your blog, meet with your professor about your research paper, and meal prep for the week all before the sun goes down? No? Then maybe consider eating leftovers, rescheduling your meeting, and waking up an hour earlier tomorrow to finish those posts.
If only a handful of items on your list get checked off, that’s okay–as long as those were the things that really needed to get done. So many times I’ve moved tasks from my Monday list to my Thursday list because I ran out of time to do them. Well, if those tasks could’ve waiting until Thursday anyway, why did I overwhelm myself by trying to get them done on Monday? I’m not saying always live day-to-day and never get things done ahead of time–for sure, do that. But prioritization is key in making these lists. And procrastination–don’t procrastinate!
Will I still complain about how I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them? Yes, probably tomorrow. But, I do recognize that these two factors aren’t immovable–there are steps you can take to combat this mindset if productivity is really your goal.