Time management and productivity training is an interesting field. On the one hand, things are changing all the time: The tools, distractions, and priorities that people set for themselves change with new career paths and technologies. Meanwhile, a lot of what goes into “getting more done” boils down to a few key concepts that don’t change much over time.
In fact, some of the classic time management advice actually becomes more valuable and useful with each passing year.
One of those – and a personal favorite – can be summed up in three words: Do not procrastinate. Although this is a tip that most of us have been hearing our whole lives, we all know someone who puts everything off until the last minute… or maybe we are one of those people.
In one sense, it is natural to avoid pain or discomfort, so we are all hardwired to save chores we do not like for another time. But whether it is natural or not, procrastination can do terrible things to your life and career. That is because the very worst tasks are usually ones that did not start out that way, but became dreadful only because we put them off for too long. Some of them were not even tough at all, but the act of thinking about them again and again has made them seem overwhelming in our minds.
If you want to feel freer and lighter very quickly, get into the habit of doing what you most need to (like balancing your checkbook, filing expense reports, or clearing out your e-mail inbox) even when you do not feel like it. In time, you will notice two interesting things will happen:
- Each of these will become simpler because you took care of them at the right moment.
- You will have a lot less mental baggage to drag around.
In time management, like art, the best pieces are sometimes the classics. Remember that the next time you are tempted to put off something that really should not wait until another day or time.
If the procrastinator is someone else whose habits are affecting your productivity, learn more about how to deal with a procrastinator.