It seems like I’ve been so insanely busy these days that I can never get enough done on a project that I’ve been working on. I blamed it on everything I had to do lately, until I was reminded by an article about procrastination on Lifehacker that there is a big difference between being busy and not having enough time. That’s because sometimes we’re busy working and other times we’re spending all our time procrastinating instead of actually getting things done. We’ve all been there. You know the excuses. “I have a really important project, but you know I have to respond back to some emails and check some RSS feeds.” Or “This desk should really be cleared. I can’t work in such a messy environment.” A couple classics right there.
If you catch yourself starting down that path, stop yourself and commit to working on what’s important for an hour before you plough through those other items. The benefits of that are twofold. One, you know you’ll at least get an hour worth of important work done. Two, you’ll probably gain enough momentum that you won’t be tempted to do those other less important tasks until you get enough work done on your more important task.
For me, the key is to have a schedule that I stick to. If I schedule the less important things for later in the day and the more important tasks earlier in the day, I’m usually ok. If I stray from that, I can get lost in minutiae that eat away at the time I need to get more important tasks done. Just knowing about that problem doesn’t mean that I never stray from the straight and narrow, but it does allow me to drag myself back on track more quickly than I used to.