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Six tips to be more productive

Never seem to get things done? Here, tiny steps that will kick your procrastination habit to the curb.

Take a minute to do nothing

To stop procrastinating, first stop multitasking. Sign out of your email. Close the Facebook and Instagram apps on your phone. Step away from the vacuum. The distractions can wait.

Write down why you don’t want to start

Imagine yourself starting the task, and take note of any unpleasant feelings you experience. It might be vulnerability, fear, or shame. Procrastination can stem from a fear of inadequacy or failure.

Give yourself a deadline for planning

Strategize how to best tackle a task, but don’t let this process drag on. “Gathering resources and information is productive and useful, but some people seem to be unable to make decisions, and those are the serious procrastinators. Give yourself, say, a 15-minute time limit to decide where you’re going to work on your task, how you’ll do it, and what resources you’ll need. After that, get started.

Start with 2-minute pieces

When a task arises, ask yourself: Can I do it in two minutes? If not, schedule it for another time during the day. If it can be done in two minutes, do it now. The two-minute rule has its roots in the classic productivity book Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Tell somebody your goals

Procrastinators may need the urgency of a looming deadline to get motivated, but that motivation doesn’t always materialize when they are their own authority. Tell a friend about how you’ll knock out a work project this afternoon or write a social media post about how you’re (finally) going to paint your bedroom this weekend. Knowing others are expecting results from you may give you the push you need.

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