How to Get Stuff Done

Because this is a serious subject matter.

Meh, I’ll just write this article later.

Just kidding. I was actually going to postpone writing this article, but then I defeated procrastination and decided to do it. So, what is the best way to defeat procrastination and get stuff done?

1. Plan ahead

Whenever you know you have to accomplish a certain something (for example, as a student, I get all my assignments on my syllabus during the first week of the semester), write it down in your agenda. If you don’t have an agenda or a calendar, use your phone. If you don’t have a phone, buy an agenda. Writing down your important tasks early on- and writing a reminder the week before- will ensure that you don’t end up with a last minute thing you had forgotten about.

2. Set your priorities

Only you can decide what your priorities are. And don’t lie to yourself. First of all, food and health should be on the top of that list- but hey, to each his own. Make a pyramid of the priorities in your life. Is it school? Your kids? Your career? A relationship? That long-lost novel you have always wanted to finish? SLEEP? Your plans of a professional gamer career? Anyway, keep your pyramid handy for this next step.

3. Plan your days

I’m going to bring back the agenda again. You don’t have to use an actual agenda- use whatever you prefer to plan your days. And again, everyone is different. You might not work well by planning out EVERY SINGLE DAY of your life. You might only need this when your days get really hectic. Anyway, if you do plan out your day, start with your top priorities- the ones you can’t go around- and outline them through your day. I will give you an example with a basic Monday of mine:

9:00- Go to class

11:00- Eat food

13:00-Class

15:00-

17:00-Eat food

19:00-

21:00-

23;00- sleep

So you see, these are the things I can’t really skip. I personally cannot skip meals, or I get shaky from lack of energy. I can’t skip my classes, because, well, I learn and stuff. I can’t skip sleep, because I would literally fall asleep in class the next day.

After you do that, you can add the things you know you need to do. These are important things that you don’t necessarily want to do, and that you can kind of afford to skip and push back to another time. DON’T. Set a commitment, and do it. You don’t have an excuse: you have time for it if you wrote it down. Remember those things you planned ahead for? It’s time to make time for them here. Once again, my own example:

9:00- Go to class

Read course material for one class

11:00- Eat food

13:00-Class

15:00- Work on research paper for an hour

17:00-Eat food

19:00- Work out

21:00-

23;00- sleep

In my case, I really want to get my workout done for the day, while getting course material read for at least one of my classes. I also know I need to put some time into that research paper. Because I am not doing my paper last minute, I can work on it for just an hour today, no more.

After you have made your list, look at the time you have left. What are you going to do with that time? Use some of it to do things you love to do. Take time to relax and wind down. I usually have 1 hour blocks in my agenda- I made two-hour blocks just to save space here. Usually, almost all of my hourly blocks have something written on them. For example, the above schedule I have made for my Monday can be filled out by things like: take a bath, play video games, read a leisure book, visit a friend, begin knitting a new scarf, etc.

This is the longest step, and a really important one, but the most important thing is to

4. Respect your schedule, but be flexible

Life happens. If something disrupts your planned schedule, just relax, take a step back, and adapt to what the day will bring you. The important thing here is to have balance between respecting your schedule and being flexible with yourself. Being flexible does NOT mean skipping your study session because you’re feeling a little tired. It does mean, skip your workout if you get the flu. Post-pone that paper if you get called up for a last minute interview. Take a break from your busy life if your friends call you up for a little get-together.

 

These four steps are how I get stuff done. Juggling artistic work with university and home-tending has forced me to adapt and become more organized. I am a naturally stressed person, and so I took the necessary measures to reduce stress as much as possible. This means no last-minute work, and plenty of me-time when I know I need it. 

The hardest stuff to get done is the stuff you don’t HAVE to do, like, oh, writing a BOOK. I won’t fail my classes or go bankrupt if I don’t work on my new novel project this week. I know, deep down, that I will be proud of myself if I work on it, and that I will enjoy the process when I actually get into it. Getting into it is the hardest part. But this is when you come in and question yourself. What do you really want? What do you really need?

And you know the only person you should NEVER, EVER lie to- even white lies are a big no-no- is yourself.

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