Time Management: Part II

Haven’t checked out Time Management: Part I yet? Click here to read!

You have your priorities straight, have mapped out what the next 3 months of work look like, and are sitting down ready to study and all is right in the world. Oh, but you just got a text from your friend and it’s a GIF so you just gotttta look at it. And you’ve been meaning to find out who does the voice in that new Southwest Airlines commercial, because you swear it sounds like Rashida Jones but don’t want to assume she would do a commercial like that. Before you know it you have spent the last 45 minutes on Wikipedia reading about the lyrics to “Octopus’s Garden” only to find out that octopi actually do have gardens, which requires a level of research by you which would be heralded by any academic research institution. All of this to say it is very easy to get distracted, and it often is much more appealing than the work we have right in front of us. Beating distractions requires strong will and is something you have to be able to do. Out of principle, I turn down food at work anytime it is offered to me. It is a very strict policy and no matter what it is (pizza, birthday cake, candy) without thought I say no, without even giving it a thought. On the flip side of that, I compulsively check my phone every 5 minutes because I am sure a new email had to have come in the moments since I last looked.

To beat distractions, you have to create a system that makes being distracted a difficult process, or at least one you have to actively think about to do. If your phone is your primary distraction, turn your phone off and put it in a drawer, or leave it in a different room. If TV is your drug of choice, go some where in which you wont be able to hear the TV in the background. Whatever it is, the point is you cant make whatever you use to distract yourself readily available, so that the only thing you have to do is the work. Because without distractions at some point staring at a wall gets really boring, so work doesn’t sound like such a bad alternative. There are plenty of apps and tips available on how to minimize and eliminate distractions. I have recently begun to use Momentum, which eliminates the click bait articles or favorites from appearing in your browser when you open a new web page and I love it. You have to have the right mind set when you sit down to work, so that you can attack the work and get done what needs to be done. And don’t worry about offending friends or family if you don’t respond to their texts the moment they send them. Simply be honest and say “I was studying” or “focusing on work” and they will get it. When I turn down food offers at work people are understanding of the fact that I watch what I eat during the week, and it actually became a source of encouragement.

When its all said and done there is nothing else to do other than to get your shit done. If you have work to do, do it, and not only will you feel a sense of accomplishment for being productive, it will be nice to not have the dread that comes along with running out of time on a deadline and cramming for a test or pulling an all nighter for a paper. Start your weekly or daily to-do list with some quick items that can be checked off easily. Who doesn’t love crossing something off a list? Start the process off on a positive note and let that cascade down the list to the more difficult or less appealing tasks. Know what your priorities are, set a timeline with achievable goals, minimize potential distractions, and GSD.

Well, what are you waiting for? Time is a-wasting……