Skip to main content

Time management and overcoming procrastination

I have tried several different tools and approaches to overcome my procrastination and do stuff that I want to do. After several years I found that several quite "easy" steps work quite well. They are no miracle recipe and it may not work for you. It took a long time until I have adjusted to this approach. But I find it quite effective. Here it is.


Write everything down

Well. I do not mean everything. Just the stuff you want to do. Even if it is trivial. Even if you think "I won't definitely forget about this". And do this in one "place". Do you ask why?

We are humans and we forget a lot. I am sure that you have experienced it more than once. You are lying in your bed and have a great idea. But you think it can wait until morning. And next morning you know you have had an idea, but you cannot remember what it was.

It is also important to keep all of it in one place. Do not use your email as a ToDo list. Or your messenger. Everything that comes to you must end up in one place. It does not matter if it is paper notebook, Google doc, Evernote or something else. I personally use Trello.

Break it down

Break every task down into pieces, which will take no longer than 30 minutes (or 1 hour in special cases). It is easier to do small task than a big one and it is also easier to find time to do a task that lasts 30 minutes than a task that you have no idea how long it will take to finish.

Do not worry, if you do not know how to break task down at the beginning. You know what you need to do first, so you just need to create first task that will take 1 hour at most.

Also, do not be scared if you do not finish in the time you have thought. That happens. Simply keep the task for another session or break it down even more if you have found out it will take longer than 1 hour.

Put it into calendar

If you do not use calendar, start right now. And put everything that you do in there. I do not care how mundane it is. Cleaning teeth, showering, traveling to work, work itself or going out to movies or drinking with friends.

If you do this, you will immediately see what spare time do you have. And you can utilize it better. Do you travel to work by public transport? You can use this time to read, listen to podcasts or respond to emails.

And now that you have your tasks separated into blocks that take no longer than 1 hour, you can easily find time in your calendar to do them.

Be prepared to throw stuff out

This is a big one. After you fill out your calendar you will immediately notice that you have a lot less spare time that you have thought. Do not panic.

Just prioritize. Do the stuff that you need and want to do first, throw out stuff that you do not have time to do. It is that "simple".

Do not give up

These steps seems simple and they are, but it will take time to adjust to it. Main reason for procrastination is, that you think you have time. After filling out your calendar and finding out how much time you actually have, you will feel more pressure. But do not worry.

After time you will learn what you really want and need to do and what is just stuff that you were telling yourself you will do "someday". And it is a freeing feeling.

There is a Czech saying "The art of living is to know, what to forget about earlier."


Popular posts from this blog

ProLinks #65 - North Korea, Cryptocurrencies, Propaganda and more

Tech The Incredible Rise of North Korea’s Hacking Army He was right. As the newspapers soon reported, more than sixteen million dollars was withdrawn from roughly seventeen hundred 7-Eleven A.T.M.s across Japan that morning, using data stolen from South Africa’s Standard Bank. The newspapers surmised that 7-Elevens had been targeted because they were the only convenience stores in Japan whose cash terminals all accepted foreign cards. Soon after the raids, the withdrawal limit for many A.T.M.s in the country was reduced to fifty thousand yen Why Cryptocurrency Is A Giant Fraud ❧ Current Affairs Schweikert is partly right: “selling it as a revolution” is a hugely important part of why cryptocurrency is succeeding. But as is generally the case when someone is trying to sell you something, the whole thing should seem extremely fishy. In fact, much of the cryptocurrency pitch is worse than fishy. It’s downright fraudulent, promising people benefits that they will not get and trying

ProLinks Biometrics #51 - Clearview AI and the backlash

This edition brings good and bad news about controversial company Clearview AI. You can also find out about best practices working with biometrics or huge fines for Facebook and Google. Enjoy! Biometrics Identifying anybody thanks to social media This New York Time expose of a not that well known company shows how companies and governments can utilize public information to identify anybody using facial recognition. The companies from which the Clearview AI scrapped the data are fighting back though . Without some serious changes in possibilities to scrape web we are screwed anyway, as researchers have build their own version of Clearview in about two weeks . Source: Best practices for storing biometrics Jeffrey N. Rosenthal and David J. Oberly of Blank Rome LLP. have provided short summary of issues you may face if you want to be in business of storing and working with biometrics , make sure to check it out. BIPA in action Illinois Biometric

ProLinks #11

First ProLinks edition in 2018 brings a lot of links for IT professionals including solid Ruby criticism. Also interesting links about society, science and more inside. IT Managing Engineers with Ron Lichty The Problem Solver - Good developers are good problem solvers. They turn each task into a series of problems they have to solve. Energy Efficiency: A New Concern for Application Software Developers - The prevalence and ubiquity of mobile computing platforms, such as smartphones, tablets, smart watches, and smart glasses, have changed the way people use and interact with software. Clever ideas that failed -  The cleverness of an idea is proportionate to its odds of failure. SSH Security and You - /bin/false is *not* security - I thought to myself, "Fine, no shell for me. I wonder if port forwarding works?" The 100x Engineer - If we want to be 100x engineers — engineers who have 100x the impact of ye’ old 1x engineer—how do we accomplish tha

ProLinks Biometrics #49 - How biometrics is making spying hard

In this edition the highlight for me is an article from Yahoo news about the trouble spy agencies are in because of biometrics and surveillance (I love irony). Other than that, you can read about reducing friction or using biometrics to track police (again, I love irony). Enjoy! Biometrics How biometrics has changed spying Biometrics at borders control, using it to issue documents or checking at hotels is making work of spies using fake identities hard to impossible, depending on a state. For example, Singapore will alert security forces if somebody is taking too long to check into a hotel . Read the linked article to find out much more. Source: Reducing friction Nowadays is all about the user experience and friction or the lack of it. User do not like to make unnecessary actions to accomplish something . Reducing friction is mostly great, but there are also downsides, as overusing social networks. Making sure that policemen are working Pol

Are there types of programmers?

As a response to my previous post about why there is so many programming languages I got very interesting answer about types of programmers. Than I have read linked article about Mort, Elvis, Einstein, and You  and subsequently post The Two Types of Programmers  which lead me to The Fourteen Types of Programmers .  As you have probably realized, there are many different opinions on this topic. So what is the reality? Let me add to the pile of opinions. It always comes down to this - How do we set the criteria on which we want to categorize. Based on these criteria we can form clusters. These clusters of programmers are than our categories. You could probably do this with clustering algorithm if you can form reasonable dataset. So basically the question how many types of programmers are there  cannot be answered without specifying your criteria. And from this misunderstanding of how the question works comes discussions about how many categories there is. There