Amy Crow
Designer / Illustrator / Maker

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Efficiency Guide for Procrastimates

I’d like to think I’m pretty on top of all the things the majority of the time. I have had many comments in the past about my efficiency and how come I do the things really quickly without procrastinating or getting emotional. Truthfully I thought everyone was the same as this, that strict decision making by logic and fact was just a normal thing. Apparently not. I think I’d like to credit this weird somewhat modern day super power to my apprenticeship in hairdressing. I know, what? But when you are an apprentice in a fully booked salon for five solid days a week and you have four senior staff who are relying solely on you to look after their eight clients simultaneously for their every whim, you start to prioritise fucking quickly and move your ass like there’s a fire beneath it. Then when you qualify and become one of those seniors, you have your own column booked with clients who require your attention, advice, experience and apparent knack for being a psychiatrist too. Eating lunch while mixing colour combinations and directing your own apprentice becomes actually kind of easy.

I really hadn’t considered that some struggle with procrastinating, incredible bouts of indecision and also the paralysis of having too many things to achieve in a short amount of time. So I was a bit tempted to write some sort of vague set of guidelines. It’s mainly a list of things that I do when I want to focus my mind laser beams and get shit done.

  1. Let’s start with how you’re going to attack the day before it even breaks. If that’s not ahead of the curve I don’t know what is. I like to take a good fifteen silent minutes before bed to write a list (lists are good, repeat this) of all of the things that I would like to achieve for the next day. I then write another list for the rest of the week. I separate these lists for a few reasons but the main one being, if you see your whole week full of things that you have to do and therefore may not want to do, it really gets you anxious. I’ve experienced this knowing all too well that anxiety turns into "deer in headlights" paralysis mode before you curl yourself up into the fetal position, clutching your pillow and sobbing. So just don’t do it to yourself. Anyone has heard of Pareto’s Principle? The 80/20 rule? No? Ok then this will put things into perspective for you. If you write a list of ten things, make sure the most important is at the top and have it in the back of your mind that at best only eight of those ten things will be achieved, the last two to four will probably fall by the wayside and be reassigned to another day. It’s just life, chill. I’d like to mention for a quick moment for the iPhone users out there that the application “notepad” is my most used app. More than texts, more than facebook, more than candy crush (I don’t even play that anyway). So get on the notes. COOL TIP if you’re synced with your email account, it automatically emails it to you.
  2. So you’ve made two lists, congratulations.
    The next thing you might want to do if you like to get all nerdy is write time allocations that you think it will take to achieve these things. In the beginning of this I used to think about the time then add another hour because let’s be real, it will not take you an hour to write that report and you’re fucking dreaming if you think you can wake up, shower, breakfast, check your social media, remember all the things you need to take to wherever the hell you’re off to, catch a bus to a destination in the sum of two hours- come on, be logical here.
  3. If you’re not using your goddamn calendar application then I don’t know why you even have a smart phone.
    In the list of apps I use most it goes Notepad, Calendar, Voice Recorder, Maps then all the other things. We’ve discussed notepad so let’s move on. Calendar is amazing. If you like pretty colours, you’re in luck, you can colour code your time slots. I currently have ten colours, they range from study to family and social. I would check that calendar at least five times a day. Some of its rad features include alarm reminders, search function and ability to add locations to access in your maps. Facebook have options to tee up with your calendar too so all those social events you’re going to can get stacked in there and you can make sure you don’t double book yourself.
  4. Food is important and a good past time, but spending your lunch hour trying to painstakingly choose between the salad and the sandwich is goddamn inefficient. I like the idea of a pre-packed lunch, however lame it seems. Remember you’re busy, you have important things to get done and spending time and money on ridiculous lunch hours is eating into your day- no I won’t excuse the pun. For those super efficient people out there, anything that comes in bar format is excellent also anything that is liquid and filling saves even more time due to the no-chew factor.
  5. Public transport is probably the bane of everyones lives, even though it’s actually pretty sweet if you live in a well serviced area. I don’t, but I do use this time to write notes, lists, thoughts etc. Even to the point where if I’m having a problem with someone and I don’t know how to express it I will write it out until I feel like it will solve the problem. Don’t sit on the bus drooling on your phone in a daze, the zombie apocalypse will be here soon enough and you can do it all in unison out in the wild.
  6. I would suggest that getting up at the same time everyday creates routine. I don’t personally use this as I go from waking up at 3am to get something done to casually snoozing through to 9am but I have heard that it gets results.
  7. Exercise. Is the last thing you want to do after an ass-kicking day of getting things done. I know, I’m there with you. Every Thursday for me is sweat city from 5pm-8pm. It’s the only exercise I do so I make dedicated time for it. When I’m there, on fire, in the sweat pit with everyone contributing to the thick condensation hanging above us I think “I hate myself”. Half way in you crack a mystical barrier and even though your thighs feel like they will just detach and run away from you so you stop doing this to them every single week, you are actually creating some pretty full on energy. I come away from classes shaking like jello but somehow ready to take on even more things.
  8. Maybe I do procrastinate and I’ve been calling it “process time” trying to avoid the label but if I genuinely don’t feel like doing something, I just won’t do it. I feel it’s totally pointless to force yourself to sit at a desk when the urge to stab yourself in the eyeball with the nearest blunt object seems more appealing. Don’t beat yourself up. I like to think of my mind like a PC, you know how there’s that task bar that tells you the programs running in the background? Do something you will enjoy while trying to figure out the problem in the back of your mind. It’s surprising what problems you can solve when you’re not focussing directly on them.
  9. If you’re super lucky like me your body will induce a migraine if you haven’t slept enough. Rest is important and you don’t have a hope in hell if you’re burning the candle at both ends. Eyeballs need to stay juicy and inside your head not piss holes in the snow on a sunny day.
  10. I think the last thing I want to add to this is, being busy makes you more busy and increases how you deal with workloads. If you’re the type to continually put things off, drag shit out and half ass things then you need to reassess. If you start doing more it will energise you.

Being efficient is a learnt thing, you don’t just wake up and start gutter stomping tasks like a badass. Start small, write lists, achieve small things and commit to getting things done.

amy crow