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How to be more efficient: stop 'precrastinating'

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20191219-how-to-be-more-efficient-stop-precrastinating

bbc.com

How to be more efficient: stop 'precrastinating'
Whether or not we care to admit it, we're all familiar with procrastination: waiting until the last minute to catch up with pressing tasks, often leading to subpar or incomplete work. The antidote - while easier said than done - is simply to start on your assignments sooner, long before the cut-off time so that your work reflects your full potential.

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Precrastination

Precrastination

In our quest to beat procrastination, is it possible to go too far. Precrastination is a tendency to rush too quickly into the pending tasks, and can be a wasteful mental effort towards what might have been a stress-free task, if a bit of planning was applied.

Example: A person who is precrastinating would hurriedly read and respond to all emails lying in the inbox, depleting precious energy on pseudo-work, energy that could have been used at something more important.

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Reasons for Precrastination

The work in front of us seems urgent, even though it may not be important, and we are instinctively wired to complete it. If something is immediately available to us, we instinctively go for it.

Short-term tasks that seemingly would take five minutes to complete are done first. We also have an eagerness to please and conscientiousness (our desire to do our duties thoroughly) that make us precrastinators.

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Don't Do Everything

Chronic Precrastinators must understand that it is ok to ‘not’ do trivial things right away and to use that mental energy and willpower to work on something substantial and important.

In today’s world, it should be okay to slow down, to be deliberate and mindful.

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Our brains are programmed to procrastinate

It’s easier for our brains to process concrete and immediate outcomes rather than abstract and future things. So the short-term effort easily dominates the long-term upside in our minds— b...

To make the benefits of action feel bigger and more real:

  • Visualize how great it will be to get it done.
  • Pre-commit, publicly.
  • Confront the downside of inaction.

Considering the downside of putting a task off will help move forward with it

While we might weigh the pros and cons of doing something new, we far less often consider the pros and cons of not doing that thing. This often leads us to ignore some obvious benefits of getting stuff done.

The advantages of procrastination

There are two kinds of individuals in this world: those who procrastinate and those who do the things in advance.

In what the first category is concerned, there is some evidence that p...

The drawbacks of procrastination

While procrastination might have some advantages, it certainly has proven drawbacks. Individuals who procrastinate tend to be more stressed and, therefore, suffer from stress-related illnesses. Furthermore, students who procrastinate have lower GPAs than the ones who don't. So you would better think twice before postponing an action next time.

The reasons behind procrastination

Whenever somebody decides to procrastinate, this happens whether because the task seems too unpleasant or because the planning wasn't done properly and, therefore, the need to delay. 

Intentional or not, procrastination ends up having the same effects on your everyday life. And these are not always good.

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Ruthless prioritization

It means deciding not to do things you'd really like to do. It also means deciding what's the most important task even when everything on your list feels crucial.

But if you can prioritize...

Consolidate All of Your Tasks Into a Single Source

To-dos arrive from a variety of sources. Your boss sends you an email, you get a Slack message from IT, a bill arrives in the mail, or a coworker asks for a favor in the hallway.

In order to prioritize your task list efficiently, you need a master to-do list that contains all of the tasks you need to prioritize and complete from all of those sources.

Analyze Your Task List

Go through your list, review each task, and decide what you want to do with it. You have 4 options:

  • Do: complete the task now
  • Defer: complete it later
  • Delegate: assign it to someone else
  • Delete: remove it from your list