My name is Sam Cleasby and I am a procrastinator. Don’t judge me, because I bet you do it to.
I run a photography company The Picture Foundry with my husband, I work with arts group Responsible Fishing, run this blog and I’m in the process of setting up a new business (launching December 2014… EEEEEPPPPPPPPP). Working a portfolio career means I need to be organised and motivated. Now I am an organised person on the whole, I love a list, hate being late and generally keep on top of things.
But now and then the old procrastinating demon sits on my shoulder whispering “Google images of funny talking dogs, Sam”
I stand firm at first, “NO demon! I have deadlines!”
“Sam, Mishka loves you” (if you don’t get this reference, click here. But be warned, you will lose the next hour of you life…
The next thing I know, I have spent two hours on youtube watching goats screaming like humans.
But I am learning to curb my procrastination habit and thought I would share my hard earned wisdom to improve productivity and teach you all how to get shit done.
1. TURN OFF THE SOCIAL MEDIA
This has to be number one. Whether it is Facebook, twitter, vine or tumblr, social media is the nemesis of productivity. It is great fun and all, but it sucks you in and stops you from doing what needs doing. Don’t have the pages open in the background, because it Will ping and you WILL click and next thing you know you are watching a girl being woken up by a hoover attached to her face…
Set times to check your social media and don’t fool yourself into thinking that if you have your work Facebook page open, it means you are working.
2. MAKE A LIST
I LOVE lists, I get a massive sense of achievement in crossing things off lists.
The important thing is to not over face yourself, as a ten page list will be overwhelming, stressful and not helpful at all. I have a weekly list of the things that need doing and then a day to day list. It keeps me on track and I feel good when I know I have completed it.
3. REWARD YOURSELF
Make a decision that when you have completed X, you will treat yourself to Y. Be that a cup of coffee or ten minutes on candy crush. It doesn’t have to be anything major, but a small treat will be that dangling carrot that can get you to finish the job in hand.
4. GET ORGANISED
It is really difficult to be organised and productive if you are working in a total mess. Sort out your desk and clear out the crap. Give yourself 10 minutes at the start of every day to make sure your workspace is clear and easy to work at.
5. KNOW WHEN YOU WORK BEST
I am not a morning person, BUT I know I feel guilty working in the evenings when the children are about and so I start my day early, but leave creative tasks which require more effort to the afternoon.
Work out when you work the best. I have a friend who wakes a couple of hours before his kids because he works best in the silence of the morning with a big coffee. Other friends swear by not starting till midday.
6. TAKE A BREAK
Sometimes your brain just doesn’t want to get into gear. If you are really struggling to concentrate, take a break. Go walk around the block, get some fresh air or a drink.
There are times when there is no point in forcing it, you won’t be creating the best work and will probably need to re-do it.
7. MAKE YOUR WORKSPACE SOMEWHERE YOU WANT TO HANG OUT
If you have to spend 8 hours a day somewhere, then make it look pretty/awesome/inspiring… You are never going to work your best if you are in a hovel. Make it personal, make it creative, make it you.
I have images I love, photos of friends and family and things that make me smile around my desk. It cheers me up to have those things in my eye line.
8.WORK WITH SOMEONE
If you are a homeworker, it is really easy to end up feeling isolated, bored and fed up. Make a point of getting out and working in the same space as someone else. Do you have any home working friends? Can you team up and work in the same office? I am lucky that I work with my husband and so we share an office, but on the days he is out on assignment I HATE it and get so much less work done.
Love Sam x