“They key to developing a deep work habit is to move beyond good intentions and add routines and rituals to your working life.”– Cal Newport
Project management is something many people struggle with. Many people have planners, To-Do lists, or they use apps such as Trello or AirTable to help them. I am one of those people. I have a planner, a To-Do list and I only recently started using the app Trello.
This week we had to set up a Trello or other project management app to help us break up long-term projects and figure out what we have done or what we still need to do. This is the very first time I have ever heard or used these apps. I’m not surprised that these apps exist because in a variety of jobs and careers there are long-term projects, however I am not trying to pursue a career with such a job. I prefer having small projects that I can do all in one sitting.
I use so many different things to make sure that I don’t forget to do something, so everywhere I look I have it written down. However, that does not stop me from procrastinating. Procrastinating is a real problem that I struggle with. I’m a senior in college and I still procrastinate even though every year I tell myself that this year I’ll do better. Then, every year it’s the first three weeks where I am on top of my game but then I quickly fall back into old habits.
Procrastination is avoiding work and actively looking for distractions. Many people, including myself, justify procrastinating by saying that they perform better under pressure, but research shows that is not the case. Procrastination is a habit that can be broken with a lot of mental strength.
As a procrastinator project management apps don’t help me. I will just look at the date the assignment is due and say to myself that I have weeks to get it done. So, I prefer to use planners. I will break up the project on my own and write down the specific parts of the assignment and when I want them to be done by. That works best for me. But everyone works differently and it depends on how you spend your time.
Time management is another large aspect of project management, “being busy isn’t the same as being effective.” (MindTools) This relates to Deep Work because it is all about how you spend your time.
When you feel stressed, you are likely to put things off, then you feel stressed thinking about what you have left to do and as you do this you leave more things undone and end up feeling overwhelmed. This is the vicious stress cycle, according to Bill Knaus. I am guilty of having this cycle in my work ethic.
There are positives and negatives to this cycle. For me, the positive of this cycle is that when I have a lot of work I need to do, I do it all in one go. I put in all of my effort to check things off of my To-Do list all at once. In that aspect I do deep work in order to get all of my work done on time. But this also means that I give myself an unnecessary amount of stress.
Everyone deals with stress. Everyone deals with it differently but at some point everyone has been stressed and felt the urge to push things off. Even though we all have the urge to do so many choose to disregard that urge and get straight to work. I envy those individuals.
This week made me realize that even though I know I am a procrastinator it is also possible to be very ahead of everything. I know what I have to do and when it is due. I always organize my time to make sure that I get things done on time. It may seem like I am doing it last minute however, if I created that the time for that specific project does that mean that I am doing it last minute? I don’t believe so.
I think that people may think it’s last minute while others, like myself, consider it the only time that specific project can be done. Everyone says that you can always use your free time to get work done. But, I think that if you don’t give yourself that free time to just relax and let your body, mind and soul get the rest it needs then it can be more productive when you need to do the actual work.
After this week, I will definitely revise how and when I do my work but I don’t think I will use Trello because in order to use it you have to constantly update it through the app and I like having things written down rather than on an app. I will be sticking to the old fashioned way of project management.