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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

The Little Trick That Will Stop Procrastination in its Tracks

It happens to the best of us: You’re settling in to tackle the next task on your to-do list, when suddenly you remember a quick question you wanted to ask your boss, a website your co-worker told you to check out, a new product you wanted to research. Okay, this will only take a few minutes and then I’ll get back to it, you tell yourself.

And before you know it, you’ve gone down a rabbit hole of other thoughts, it’s two hours later, and you haven’t made any headway on your original task.

Sound familiar? If your mind is wont to wander, then this simple trick is about to change your life. Let me introduce you, my friend, to the power of the procrastination pad.

Here’s how it works: Keep a pad of paper next to you on your desk, and every time a stray thought pops into your head when you’re trying to focus on something else, jot it down quickly, then get back on track. Then, when you’ve finished your task, you can turn to your procrastination pad and tackle what’s there or add items to your to-do list for later as you see fit.

That’s it.

Simple, I know, but it works. Why? Writing down those nagging thoughts gives your mind the freedom to stop worrying about them (since it’s written down, you know you’ll get back to them later) and opens up more space for thinking about the task you’re working on. It can also be a nice list to have on hand for when you happen to have a spare moment—often these are small things that you can knock out when you have five minutes of free time here or there.

So, grab a notebook or stack of paper, set up your procrastination pad, and get ready to have your workday transformed.

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