As a way to beat procrastination, in a previous article, I suggested you should time yourself as you work on each task from your to-do list as.
Why would you want to do that?
Your brain has a very powerful, built-in, automatic mechanism for getting what it wants. From birth, your brain naturally caused you to reach for things and put things in your mouth because you needed food for survival. You automatically cried when you were hungry or wet or hurt. You automatically reached for things that looked interesting or that you wanted.
As we get older, we tend to have a bit more control over these automatic impulses. But these impulses can still be a major ally in being productive.
When you have a task on your to-do list, you are essentially telling your brain you want to accomplish that task. Barring other emotional and physical obstacles, your brain will try to help you do that. But without a set time goal, it may very well do it on its own schedule, not yours. Without a time goal, the brain doesn’t mind being distracted by visitors, phone calls, e-mails, or shiny things.
But with a time goal, you’ve now told your brain that not only do I want to accomplish this task, but I want to accomplish it within 10 minutes. Now, the brain will work hard to help you accomplish that. Set a timer, and you increase the urgency factor. You get less distracted because your brain knows you only have a short period of time to accomplish it. It also knows that it will have permission to look at the distractions once the timer goes off.
It takes some getting used to. If this is unfamiliar, you may find your subconscious resisting the change. But if you insist on practicing by timing all of your to-do lists, you will soon find you are being more productive than ever before – and having fun doing it.