Procrastination Strategies

Time-Management: The Self-Monitoring Stopwatch

Time-Management Tory Woollcott

Self Monitoring is how well someone can gauge their own performance. Do you not notice when you walk away before you finish something? Do you feel like you done everything expected of you only to find out later that you missed something important? Do you think you’ve finished a list of things but then realize you didn’t? Then you, like me, are crappy at Self Monitoring!

One way I work around this is with a stopwatch, the one on my phone mostly.

I start the stopwatch when I start writing, emailing, drawing or whatever really. This way I’ll know how long it actually takes me to finish something, and  how long I can do something before my mind started to wonder. Two super important things to know about yourself. 

If I start walking away from something I look at the timer. How long was I working? can I keep going? if I start something else, or even get up, I stop the timer and write down how long I lasted.

I find I get competitive with myself, wanting to beat my best time, or at least not go down!

Procrastination Strategies: Do it now Do it fast

Here’s a little post about a new procrastination strategy I’ve been trying.

Can you finish this thing in two Minutes? If yes do it now.

Thats pretty much it.

And this thing really works.

I’ve been applying this two ways, by adding time estimates to my to-do lists, and by timing my distractions as best I can.

A Tory To-Do

If the thing will take two minutes, then it gets done now, why not?

Usually about half my list is short stuff, so I would traditionally put it off. Not anymore!

Dishes: if I’ve been keeping up with the two minute rule, there won’t be many. and I’m not counting pots;)

Emails: the the bane of my existence.  The big trick to this is breaking it down to the smaller parts, each email isn’t long but if i had said ‘emails’ as one lump it would have taken more than the two minutes. And I probably wouldn’t have done them to be honest, I would have been intimidated.

Organized Distractions

I can only leave a task for two minutes.

I’ve talked about my problems with procrastination at length, and a huge HUGE part of it for me is getting distracted by something and walking away from what I’m doing, this strategy lets me get away with this, but still makes me get my stuff dun. If I’m working on something and I feel the need to get up and do something else? Thats fine, but i set an alarm for two minutes, after the time’s up I have to get back to what I was doing.

Its really that straightforward.

Its not perfect by any means, but I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now and I have to say, those dishes are looking a lot cleaner, and those emails are a lot leaner (lolz)

Time Management: its Alarming!!

Procrastination and Time Management go hand in hand for me, they aren’t the same thing by any means, but they definitely like to hang out and get brunch together on a regular bases.

tory woollcott time management  2

Time management is the ability to focus your time efficiently. Where is procrastination is Postponing delaying or ignoring necessary or important tasks. Procrastination is caused by a million different things like stress, disinterest and destruction. Effective time management is an excellent way to counteract procrastination no matter the cause. The only real way to get rid of  procrastination is to figure out the root cause and deal with that,  but that's another blog post altogether.


tory woollcott time managed

I don’t have a good sense of time. I never really know how long I’ve been doing something, unless I'm looking directly at a clock. I can't really tell the difference between 10 minutes and half an hour without some sort of technical aid. (but I have a crazy ability to wake up just before my alarm goes off, how weird is that?) This can be a real problem when I'm trying to estimate how long it will take me to get something done. I've gotten a lot better with this over the last few years because I've stopped relying on my faulty internal clock I'm using the awesome clock that comes with my phone!

I'm using this phone doohickey constantly, and in a lot of different ways but today I want to talk about the alarm!

Get to know time

I have an alarm go off when I start working, then hit the snooze button every ten minutes. This has helped me get a grasp of how long ten minutes really is.

(a side note if you use an iphone the alarm that comes with it won’t let you adjust the length of the snooze button so I just use this alarm app).

A big part of this is to make sure the alarm is soothing, if it's going to scare you or distract you to much it won't really work. The idea is for you to go, ‘oh ten minutes, neet’, then get right back to what you were doing, then repeat  (obviously not when you're trying to sleep but you get what I'm saying like 8 hours or what ever).

If you're like me and you don't really have an understanding of how long it takes to do something, or how long an allotment of time is doing this for a day it’ll really help you understand how long 10 minutes is.

Time allotment

I give my self an amount of time to finish something then set an alarm to go off.  I need to send an email that stressing me out? Set an alarm for 2 minutes. I need to do some dishes set an alarm for 20 minutes. knowing that there is an alarm set giving me only a limited amount of time to complete something puts a bit more pressure on, and doesn't allow procrastination to sink in.

Procrastination: The serial killer of creativity.

What is procrastination?

Procrastination is basically doing anything other than the thing you should be doing. 

I’ve heard some definitions that say that it’s all about doing more fun tasks first, but in my experience that's not true. I will do the dishes rather then draw a comic, one of these things I hate, the other one I love. 

I’ve been trying to figure out the building blocs of procrastination, at last for me,  there are these four things that keep coming up:


The Snooze Button

The Problem

The urge to keep doing what I’m doing now, sleeping, eating, hanging out, playing a game, cleaning! Literally what ever I’m doing, rather then start on what ever the project might be, even awesome fun ones. So I will keep saying to myself, ‘when I finish this I’ll do that.’

The Solution 

Ironically the best way for me to deal with this problem is an alarm. I have an alarm set on my phone and when that alarm goes off I just have to move on to the next thing.

The Eraser  

 this is a crumpled pice of paper, and an eraser, fyi ;) 

The Problem

I will trash project when I’m almost finished, and start all over again. Somethings wrong with everything, there’s no hope, burn it down, start over.

The Solution

The only way I’ve been able to deal with this one so far is to walk away from what ever I’m working on when this feeling hits. Walk away, have a cup of tea and work on something else for a little wile before coming back to the project. This obviously isn't ideal.


The Remote 

The Problem

I’m always changing the channel in my mind I’m just not able to focus on any one project at a time. I’ll jump from one project to another constantly, making it next to impossible to finish anything.

The Solution

I haven’t found anything that works to fix this yet. I’m trying a few things, but honestly nothing has worked yet.


The Buffet 

The Problem

I will just keep adding projects, saying yes to everything, giving me even more channels to flip threw. 

The Solution

I’m not talking on anything new tell I’ve finished two of my current projects, I’m not really sure if this will work, I’ve only just started, we’ll see.


Next time

my next procrastination post is going to be a little less personal, I’m going to talk about some of the research I’ve done about procrastination.