In his book “The Effective Executive,” Peter Drucker suggests a simple exercise/method that you can use to become more productive, efficient, and beat procrastinating.
Three steps in the exercise include:
Step 1: Time Log
a. Start with the date and day on top of the notebook.
b. Hour by hour record everything about what you did. You are recording what you are going through the whole day.
c. After every hour, write down what you did with a timestamp.
d. Keep doing this activity for a minimum of five days to one week. Let’s take 5 days here.
e. Keep this notebook with you always.
(Time spent) Browsed Facebook, Instagram, watched a few episodes on Netflix.
(Time spent) worked on my assignments.
Step 2: Identify Productive and Non-Productive Work
- By evening, go through all the activities and its corresponding ‘time-spent’ logs one by one.
- For each task ask the question of “what happens if I stop doing this?”
- If your answer is “I can’t stop doing this task. It’s important for me,” then place a big dot near it.
- If your answer is “Nothing will happen if I stop doing this” for a task, then mark that task as “ZERO RETURNS.”
- Now you have tasks with “Dots” and tasks with “ZERO RETURNS.”
Step 3: Eliminate ZERO RETURNS
- The tasks marked “ZERO RETURNS” are time-wasters. This is where your time is going unproductively.
- Limit them. Or, it’s better to cut them to cut procrastination.
- By monitoring every day, and every hour, you now have the clarity of time you used productively and time you wasted.
- By eliminating time-wasters, you have enough time to do things that matter.
- You can beat procrastination if you become productive. This exercise is an easy and effective strategy for becoming productive.