The Most Important Time Management Question

What to Ask Yourself When You Are Procrastinating

You find yourself wasting time.

Maybe you have spent the last hour chatting it up with your co-workers. Or you have been surfing the Internet, reading news, or social media.

The minutes, and then hours, have ticked by… and by.

When this happens, how do you get back on track? How do you snap out of your procrastination streak?

There is one simple time management question you need to ask yourself to bring you back-to-task.

The Question to Break Your Procrastination

When you are off track, the question you need to ask yourself is…

What should I be doing right now?

This simple question will stop your procrastination in its tracks. Thoughts of your priorities, undone tasks, and important items you are not currently doing… will immediately come flooding back.

You may feel like you are calling yourself out like a child. However, it is a powerful question that can get you back on track with your work.

Here are a few productivity tips to keep in mind:

  • Stop and Ask – The most important step is to stop the procrastination. Whether surfing Facebook or watching YouTube, you need to stop and ask yourself what you should be doing at that moment.
  • Look at Your To-do List – If you don’t immediately know what your most important task is, it’s time to look at your list. You can then better judge what is your top priority.
  • Remove Yourself from the Procrastination – When it comes to beating procrastination, stopping the action can be a good first step. However, make sure you remove yourself from the source of distraction. If you are chatting it up in the break room at work, leave. If you are playing on your phone, put it down or turn it off.
  • Take the First Step Towards Productivity – Getting started on what you should be doing can be difficult. Yet, taking one small step towards starting that important task can lead to the momentum you need. Whether it is going to the location needed to perform the task or simply gathering the materials required, these simple actions can help you get started.

Should vs. Could Be Doing

The question is what should you be doing.
Not could. Or would be doing.

Because you could be doing anything right now.

To beat your procrastination, always ask, “What should I be doing?”

Question: How do you stop procrastination and concentrate on your priorities? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Invest just 10 minutes a day toward the right ideas, behaviors and strategies to finally be more productive at work…so you can spend less time there! 31 Days, 31 Ways: Daily Tips for Time Management Mastery is my time management course, containing 31 powerful daily lessons and 31 actionable exercises designed to help you take action, reduce stress, and reclaim your time. Click here to learn more.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “The Most Important Time Management Question

  1. Dear Craig,

    Thanks for your blog, I find it really useful, a bitesize reminder that time management is a continuous mental task running in the background — and of what I should be doing now 🙂

    I’m leaving a comment regarding the chats with colleagues. I often find myself slipping into conversations with colleagues that run longer than I’d like. However sometimes it seems difficult to wrap them up and get back to work. I do not like the idea of abruptly interrupting, I do not want to alienate my co-workers. Additionally, though these conversations are often “thin” on anything useful or catchy, they help you build a relationship with your colleagues, know them better, and know where everybody stands in terms of options for collaboration. Moreover sometimes you obtain useful intel on your organisation’s politics, which can be helpful to make professional decisions. What do you make of this? How to maximise the profit of these interactions to have a smooth relationship with colleagues and get a feel for what is going on in your organisation?