Time Blocks One of the keys to overcoming procrastination is learning to become committed to getting stuff done.
Not committed as in, “Yeah, I’d like to get that done.” Rather, committed as in, “I’m going to do this at X time on X day at X location.” In fact, studies have found that committing to an activity in this way is indeed one of the most effective ways at overcoming procrastination. While only a small minority people who say they want to do an activity—in the case of this particular study, exercising—actually do it, almost everybody who was told to schedule an exact location, time, and type of exercise did it. And such is the power of using time blocks to overcome procrastination. Without truly committing to doing an activity—such as by specifying exactly when, where, and how you will do a specific task—procrastination just becomes too easy. So let’s take a look at several ways to use this incredibly powerful anti-procrastination technique.
First of all, and perhaps most obviously, you need to decide exactly what it is you need to get done. Though simple, simply knowing exactly what you need to get done is surprisingly powerful. During this time block, eliminate everything else.
Put your devices on airplane mode, take advantage of website blocking tools, etc. Seriously. Today’s increasingly powerful multipurpose devices—such as tablets, laptops, computers, and phones—succumbing to the urge to procrastinate is far too easy.
Millions of interesting (yet unproductive) sites are literally a click away. As soon something starts to get a little boring or difficult, procrastinating ends up easier than just soldiering on. So make it so it’s easier to just continue working (such as by using website blocking tools). We tend to follow the path of least resistance, so use this fact to your advantage.
Another way to get around this is to do tasks that require internet usage ahead, and then turn it off, buckle down, and dive into a session (i.e. time block) of undistracted work with no chance of—or option for—procrastination.
This is an especially great approach if you’re doing a task that requires research such as a blog or article. Too often, it’s too easy to fall into the trap of “researching” more than you really need to, or just “researching” unrelated topics. That said, if you truly need the web, tools that I have personally found useful include Go Fucking Work, a timed website blocker for those of you that don’t mind a bit of profanity, and RescueTime, an extension which keeps track of the time you spend of different websites and programs, providing you with an honest look at how you spend your time. Furthermore, you can—if you want—use these two programs in conjunction, putting temporary blocks (using Go Fucking Work) on websites you realize (using RescueTime) you’re spending too much time on. The point here is this: To truly overcome procrastination and get stuff done, you need to really, really commit.
Set aside a block of time, cut out all distractions. And give yourself no choice but to do whatever it is you need to do