I love a good to-do list. Getting everything I want to do out of my head and down on paper gives me a little jolt of energy to move ahead and conquer it all!
Unfortunately, that hit of motivation usually doesn’t last long.
Let’s face it, if you have young kids around, they need your attention. They can quickly derail you from getting anything done.
That’s why it’s really helpful to use little amounts of time, like 5 minutes here and there, to be productive and beat procrastination.
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Why Do You Procrastinate?
According to Solving Procrastination, “Procrastination is the act of unnecessarily postponing decisions or actions.”
Personally, the trap of procrastination is easy to fall into when I’m feeling overwhelmed with everything I think I should be doing. I become paralyzed with indecisiveness of where to start.
More simply, it’s easy to procrastinate when you have an unpleasant task at hand and would do anything to avoid having to complete it.
Distraction and impulsiveness may also play into your procrastination. I’m guessing your kids and phone are probably your biggest distraction. And it’s really easy when you are feeling mentally drained to play into your impulse to veg out with Netflix (or Bravo in my case).
The tips below focus on helping you be productive when overwhelm, distractions, and not wanting to do something support your procrastinating.
7 Productivity Tips You Can Apply In Under 5 Minutes
Tip #1: Set Your Timer For 5 Minutes
It’s amazing how much you can get done in 5 minutes if you hustle. Are you procrastinating picking up the kitchen? Set your timer for 5 minutes and get moving.
Avoiding that pile of mail on the counter? Set your timer for 5 minutes and sort through it.
When the 5 minutes is up, you’re done! (I mean, you don’t have to be done, but you can let the pressure go and stop if you want.)
Use this timer tip for any task that has you dragging your feet. Just take the first tiny step to get it done by setting your timer for 5 minutes.
Tip #2: Spend 5 Minutes Making A List
Procrastination can show up when you feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do first. The perfect solution for this is to write a list.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy list, just grab paper and pen or the notes app in your phone, and let your mind unload for 5 minutes.
Don’t worry about the list making sense, or being organized. The point of this tip is to help you get all those thoughts out of your head.
Tip #3: Throw Everything In A Laundry Basket
You might be procrastinating because when you look around your house, you feel consumed with everything that needs to be picked up and put away.
When this happens to me, I grab a laundry basket and go around the house and literally fill it with every item that is out of place. Mostly, I have a basket full of toys, school papers, kids drawings, books, mail, clothes – basically anything that has been sitting around for a few days that I don’t want to deal with in the moment.
After my laundry basket is filled, I set it out of sight. Sometimes I go through it later that day, but more than likely it sits for a few weeks or so until I am looking for some piece of mail or important school paper…
The reason this tip works so well is that by removing the clutter, it’s much easier for you to be productive. Once you fill up the basket, you can then tackle whatever task you are avoiding without having to worry about putting all the junk away.
Tip #4: Temporarily Delete Apps On Your Phone
It’s hard to get anything done when your phone is just calling you to check on it. Sometimes, I find myself grabbing my phone and I didn’t even realize I was doing it!
Next thing I know I’ve wasted 15 minutes scrolling Instagram and feeling even more lazy than I did before.
If you find yourself spending more time scrolling your phone than you like, you can easily delete the apps that you like to scroll, then reinstall them when you want to use them intentionally.
I use this tip on a daily basis. I will reinstall Instagram to post something and scroll for a few minutes, then I delete the app.
When I go to reach for my phone, I remember the app isn’t on there, and I remind myself I don’t need it at the moment.
This tip saves you time and helps you focus on getting something done instead of feeling the pull to constantly check your phone.
Tip #5: Have One 5 Minute Task A Day
We do a 5 minute pick-up at the end of the day. This means that everyone goes through the living room and kitchen and grabs items that don’t belong and puts them away.
Doing this 5 minute task daily helps keep the area decluttered. Plus, it’s awesome to start the next day with a tidy kitchen and living room.
When you are feeling particularly lazy and unmotivated, pick one task that will take 5 minutes or less and make the priority for the day.
Finishing that task will give you a feeling of satisfaction and you might just want to keep up with the momentum. Or you might just want to go back to avoiding what needs to get done – and that is OK too. At least you accomplished something!
Tip #6: Make A Phone Call
Call someone to keep you company while you tackle a dreaded task. It makes the time go faster and you can catch up with one of your favorite people.
There’s something about talking on the phone that gets me moving. I might be having a really lethargic day, but if I get on the phone, I find myself suddenly cleaning off and wiping down the kitchen counters or putting laundry away.
Tip #7: Use Baby Steps
So technically, this step can be combined with tip #2 so you would be spending a little more than 5 minutes on it.
First thing you want to do is grab the list you made in tip #2. Then pick out one thing from the list that needs to get done ASAP.
Next, set your timer for 5 minutes and break your designated task down into really detailed steps. These are tiny (baby) steps that when followed, will complete the whole task.
For example, I’ve had “clean out basement toys” on my Master To-Do List for a few months now, but I am struggling to even start this process.
Here’s what it looks like broken down into baby steps:
- Grab garbage bag
- Walk downstairs into the basement
- Clear space on basement floor to sort through toys
- Create 3 piles – garbage, donate/sell, keep (this step could be broken down into even more baby steps – creating each pile could be a step)
- Choose one plastic tub of toys
- Pick one toy out of the tub and decide what to do with it.
- Repeat step 6 until you have sorted through all the toys in the plastic tub
- Move onto the next tub of toys
Now if you are someone who really gets motivated from crossing off tasks on your list, you will love this method! Within a few minutes you can have three or four things crossed off.
Use These 5 Minute Productivity Tips To Beat Procrastination
When you can feel yourself procrastinating, use one of the productivity tips mentioned above to get yourself moving. Within 5 minutes, you can awaken your productive side.
Which productivity tip will you put to use? How do you get yourself to do something when you can feel yourself procrastinating? Please share in the comments below.