By Nicole Tinkham
When we asked our Facebook friends what they struggle with most as an artist, the overwhelming answer happened to be procrastination. It seems that many artists either have too many ideas they’d like to pursue and just don’t know where to begin or they draw a blank when it comes to a particular project. In these cases, it’s common to start working on something else and ignore what you should be working on. At the end of the day it feels like you spent a lot of time getting nothing done. What a waste of time! Even if you aren’t an artist, we’re sure you can relate. Quit spending time doing the things that aren’t helping you. Here are 13 ways you can fight procrastination and get more productive today.
1. Choose the most important thing on your to-do list. We suggest creating a to-do list of all the things you hope to get done in a day. Choose the top 3 most important things you MUST get done and put a star next to them. Out of those 3, choose the #1 most important thing and highlight it. This is what you need to work on FIRST! Everything else on the list can wait for later or tomorrow.
2. Set uninterrupted focus time. The best way to get things done is to eliminate all other distractions. This means your phone should be shut off or on silent. Everyone around you knows you are in the zone and not to bother you. Have only the task at hand in front of you. Don’t start working on a million other things during your uninterrupted time. Get completely focused on that one important task!
3. Track how long you’re spending on each task. Set a timer when you begin and stop it when you’re finished. If the time spent on the task seems way too long it’s time to reevaluate your focused time. Did any distractions pop up? Did you start working on something else? Did you get a phone call halfway in? Timing your focus sessions will open your eyes as to what you’re really spending your time on and will allow you to improve.
4. Prep for success. If you know your messy art room will be a huge distraction for you, spend some time the night before de-cluttering it. Don’t spend too much time on this though. Get in, straighten up, and get out. If there are certain supplies you need for your project, get those ahead of time too. There will be no messing around during your focused time!
5. Break down large projects into smaller tasks. Sometimes one huge project just seems impossible. But if you break that project down into small projects it’s much more manageable and you’ll feel more comfortable tackling it.
6. Do the most important work during your peak time of day. If you’re a morning person, plan your focused time first thing in the AM. If you’re a night owl, wait to start your project until creativity strikes.
7. Take a walk. If you sit down and just can’t seem to get anything done, you’re drawing a blank, and there’s no creative flow, it may be time to clear your mind. Try taking a SHORT (emphasis on short) walk and you should come back to your project refreshed and focused.
8. Find new ways to challenge yourself. If you’re constantly doing the same things over and over again, you’ll bore yourself making it much more difficult to get in the creative zone and be productive. When things get dull challenge yourself by doing something outside your comfort zone. Work with a medium you’re not used to, try out a new technique, or attend an art workshop.
9. Take breaks when needed. They say the ideal length of focused, productive time is 45 minutes. It’s the perfect amount of time to get in the zone but longer amounts of time can decrease your productivity. Every 45 minutes simply walk away from your project. Fix your mind on something else temporarily and get right back into it. These little breaks should be about 15 minutes long.
10. Set deadlines for yourself. This will encourage you to push through until it’s done! Also make your goals and deadlines public. Tell a friend about them to hold you accountable.
11. Get plenty of sleep. It’s so important in your energy and productivity levels. If you don’t sleep well at night (we know all the creative ideas start popping up when you’re trying to sleep), take a mini nap during the day. This will leave you refreshed and ready to go.
12. Remember why completing this task is important. When things get difficult and you feel like giving up altogether, remember why you started. There had to have been a good reason behind it. Is it really worth giving up at this point?
13. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It takes time to form any habit just like it takes time and practice to learn a new art technique. The more you prioritize and get focused on one task at a time, the easier and better you’ll get at it. Keep on going. You CAN fight procrastination.
Don’t let procrastination ruin your success! This list may seem overwhelming but just take it one day at a time. Here’s where you need to start today. First of all, determine the most important thing that needs to get done. Get rid of all distractions, and get to work on it immediately. Stay focused, only taking short mini breaks when needed. That’s it! Continue to use this list and put it into action every day to help you fight procrastination for good.
Tell us, has this blog helped you get more done? Leave a comment below with your experience 🙂