We all procrastinate from time to time; it’s human nature. But if you find yourself running things down to the wire often, your “occasional” procrastination may be a bigger problem than you think. Here are 5 simple task management tips to help you get more done with your day.

1. Think on paper

Make a list of everything you need to accomplish and check it regularly throughout the day. Not only does a list keep you from forgetting important tasks, but it also saves time when you’re shifting gears from one task to the next.

2. Get started

The first step is often the most difficult. If you find yourself putting off a specific task, the worst thing you can do is leave it untouched. Tasks tend to become more manageable once you’ve begun. Having trouble staying on-task? It typically takes 20 minutes to re-focus on a project you’ve stepped away from! So before beginning a new task, make sure you have everything you need to complete it. Turn off distractions like social media and notifications. This way, you’ll avoid wasting energy by repeatedly starting and stopping.

3. Take a slice

Instead of thinking about the entire project, break it down into bite size pieces. Don’t force yourself to figure out how the entire project is going to come together. Think of it as a loaf of bread, and only focus on eating one slice at a time. One of the most common lies we tell ourselves is that we don’t have enough time right now. In other words, we give ourselves permission to procrastinate. Next time you find yourself saying those words, find a 5-minute “bite” of the project and finish it before you walk away from it for the day.

4. Prioritize unpleasant tasks

Sometimes procrastination stems from anxiety about one or more parts of the greater project. The longer you let that fear and uncertainty fester, the worse it will get. Once you knock it off your list, you’ll find that the rest of the project will be a whole lot easier. Also, do the hardest part of the task first thing in the morning. You have the most energy and alertness in the morning, plus, you won’t waste major portions of your day dreading the task you must complete.

5. Consider the consequences

When all else fails, think about the negative consequences of not getting your task done. Fear and desire are two of the most effective motivators. So toss a little reality check into the mix to push you forward.

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