As a notoriously chronic procrastinator, I have sucked at time management all my life. I would say that I have gotten slightly better in the last two years, but I don’t like doing something unless I have to do it. 99% of the time, I can get away with being a procrastinator, but proper time management has made my life significantly easier over the last two years. Don’t get me wrong. I still procrastinate with the best of them, but not on everything as I used. I can’t afford to procrastinate as I used to when I was younger, dumber, and lazier. But nothing aggravates procrastinators when people tell us to “just stop procrastinating.” Thanks for the helpful tip (rolls eyes). So here is a procrastinator’s guide to time management. 

My Timer Is My Best Friend

Now, this might be more of an ADHD thing than a procrastinator thing, but getting a timer or small everyday chores has been an absolute game changer. A big part of having ADHD is decision paralysis which leaves us overwhelmed by choices we need to make or things we need to accomplish. It’s as simple as deciding whether to start cleaning the bathroom or kitchen first. Only for me to overthink what needs to get done in each room, and I end up scrolling through TikTok on my couch instead of cleaning. So instead of letting myself get overwhelmed with small everyday tasks, I set a timer.

You might be surprised at how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes. I stopped dividing my cleaning by room. I just clean. When I set my timer, I do the same three things. The first is to make my bed, then I throw in a load of laundry, and last, I take the trash out. Doing those three simple tasks every time jumpstarts my brain into cleaning mode and takes less than 2 of my 15 minutes. It usually leads to me loading the dishwasher, wiping down the kitchen counter and then the bathroom sink. You get the point. Cleaning for me isn’t where linear I clean the whole kitchen, the whole living room, and then the bathroom. I just let my brain take me where it wants to go. And before I knew it, the 15 minutes were up.

Pro Tip

You can use your timer for more than just cleaning. For example, I only use the timer as a jumpstart to my procrastination.

Getting Rid Of Distractions Is Best For Time Management

My dad loved to hoard things, so now I throw out/give away things that I don’t need or use anymore. So you could say I’m not a fan of clutter unless it’s on my desk. (I’m not a minimalist either.) I like having fun with little doodads and clutter on my desk. Currently, I have a regular Rubik’s cube and a 4×4 one, a box of lens wipes, my Nintendo switch, a stream deck, two journals, my kindle, a lego Cyndaquil in a Pokeball, and the Ferrari F1-75 model on my desk. My kindle and Switch are hidden behind everything else, so I don’t grab them immediately, but my phone seldom touches my desk. And I am in the middle of a really good book; then my kindle stays on my nightstand during the day. 

I must eliminate all the distractions I know will suck me in without hesitation. When I was in the midst of a Hades obsession, I threw my Switch in a bag and threw that bag in the trunk of my car, which was parked five blocks away. I’m not a racehorse, so I can’t put on blinders that force me to only look at a google doc. I can eliminate my distractions as best I can so that when it’s time to work, I don’t get distracted as easily. It’s easy for someone to say, “get organized and schedule your time appropriately,” but if you don’t set up your space for work, then it’s all pointless. Time management systems only work if you tailor them to your needs, weaknesses, and strengths.   

Pro Tip

Figure out what distracts you and work around that. For example, I’ve learned since working from home that my desk cannot face my bed. If I can see my bed while working, I’m just tempted to lay on it with my dog. Next thing you know, I’m taking a nap in the middle of the work day. So my desk is positioned away from my bed, looking into the bleakest and bland beige wall. If I put it next to the window, I’ll just start daydreaming like a kid in a classroom.

Time Management Is The Best And The Worst

Being responsible can make you feel great and productive, but it’s sort of like having to get out of bed early and go to the gym first thing in the morning. You hate yourself at the moment, but later on, you thank yourself. Cleaning, working and managing my time all suck. I drag my feet. I would rather future me deal with it when I have to, but procrastination isn’t sustainable. Figure out a time management system that works for you. I have 5,000 alarms on my phone for daily tasks I won’t do otherwise. I gamify my life as much as possible so I don’t just go back to sleep in the morning. Use journals, planners, apps, alarms, or whatever else to help refocus you and where you are spending your time.          

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