With so much stuff going on all around you, it’s hard to focus. While much of this stuff is certainly fun and even sometimes beneficial for our goals, it can also take a lot of time and make you just go in circles listening and reading but never actually doing the job. There is so much useful content that gets published every day — articles, videos, books — getting lost in the sea of information is easier than ever. So how do you actually get things done? How do you actually deal with procrastination?
There are several schools that seem to look at this issue from different angles. One of the older and more famous schools is David Allen’s Get Things Done (or GTD) described in his book with the same name. What he suggests may not appeal to everyone, but there are people out there who appreciate his method and say it has benefited them. Allen’s system is too complex to describe in one short article and you need to read the book to understand, but I can tell you it involves an insane amount of files, folders and papers with tasks written on them and classified. Other two characteristics that are worth looking at are the following:
- Delegate everything that can be delegated unless you enjoy doing it yourself;
- If the task takes less than two minutes to complete, do it right on the spot.
Other things become a part of elaborate folder system and should be attacked in a timely manner. Writing it and filing it to a folder with deadline and category on it is supposed to ensure you will actually do it.
Another school of thought on this matter is Pomodoro technique. Long story short, with this method you will define your tasks and work in 25 minute increments. Once you work for 25 minutes without distraction, you are allowed to take a short break, stretch a little, have a coffee, then get back to work for another 25 minutes. Practitioners of Pomodoro technique typically use tools such as kitchen timer or timer on their smartphones to alert them when the time is up.
And yet there are some others who suggest something that seems to be similar to the Pomodoro way but is actually easier and tailored to individual’s personal needs and abilities. That means defining the period of time you can work uninterrupted — even if it was only five minutes — and actually doing it. The ability to set a custom period of time is the main difference. What will usually happen is that once started, people will end up working much longer than expected because the real issue is not the complexity of the task but getting started itself.