When I was a teenager, I was so good at not procrastinating. Weird, right? Maybe I was just a super-dork, but I would get so stressed out thinking about the fact that I had to do my homework that I would do it to just get it out of the way. Ultimately, the stress was always way worse than whatever I actually had to get done.
Unfortunately, I still get stressed when I have important things on my to-do list (note to self: call your loan provider TODAY!) but somewhere between freshman year algebra and my first job, that super ability to force myself to do things I don’t know want to do disappeared.
These days, important emails linger in my mailbox for weeks and I pretty much always have Facebook open in one of my tabs. Bad habits, I know, but lucky for me and you, there are digital solutions that offer procrastination help in this world of digital distraction!
Alright guys, it’s time. Close your Facebook tab, get off of gchat, stop “reading” TMZ. Here are three tools whose whole purpose is getting you back to work.
The name pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? WasteNoTime is a browser extension for Google Chrome and Safari that basically forces you to stop messing around. It has a time tracker that lets you know exactly how many minutes you spent on each website that day. (Ready to face up to that truth? I’m not sure I am.)
Taking that time tracker one step further, you can also set time quotas for certain websites and WasteNoTime will automatically shut them down once you’ve hit that limit. It’s like your mom coming in and taking away your video games so that you can focus on studying for your history test tomorrow.
Probably the best feature for me is the one that forces you to work for preset amounts of time with limited internet access. It seems like wifi is everywhere these days and sometimes I really, really need to be disconnected if I’m going to get any good writing done.
First of all, love the name. Mac really won the name game with their starting everything with “i” format, but I think this iProcrastinate might win the Best “i” Usage Award, as determined by Emma McGowan.
Second of all, this app is great for those of you who know that limiting your access on your computer only is never going to be enough. Even if you’ve blocked yourself from all of those sites that keep you from working on your laptop, you can feel your iPhone calling to you, tempting you with Tweets and status updates.
While iProcrastinate doesn’t shut things down the way the computer apps do, it does give your smartphone another purpose: task management. This app links your computer and your iPhone, making it easy to create new tasks, see what you need to do, prioritize, research, and even print things out when you need a hard copy.
It’s basically taking the every popular to-do list into the 21st century.
Now, this one has been around for awhile (awhile as in, even before smartphones), but I think it’s totally genius so I’m including it here.
Everyone knows that setting your clock ahead doesn’t really work because, well, you did it and you can do basic math and you can figure out what the real time is. The Procrastinator’s Clock is set ahead, but it slows down and speeds up randomly, making it impossible for you to know the real time.
The clock works because it stresses you out. You never know the exact time and that fact keeps you on your toes. Your best bet is to assume that the clock is on time, meaning you’ll get things done faster and may even finish earlier.
Got any good anti-procrastination tips? Leave them in the comments below, because I really need to finish this article and get back to my 50 item to-do list…