wikiHow to Stop Daydreaming and Get Stuff Done

Three Parts:Getting MotivatedGetting OrganizedGetting Stuff Done

Ready to get off the couch and tackle your long to-do list, but not sure how to stop daydreaming and get stuff done? Nearly everyone daydreams on a regular basis. Studies indicate that as many as 96% of adults engage in at least one bout of fantasy a day.[1] These mental meanderings can act as entertainment when bored or as a distraction from your obligations and commitments for the day. While they may be a nice break from reality, it’s important to keep them in check so you can replace dreams with productivity.

Part 1
Getting Motivated

  1. Image titled Stop Daydreaming and Get Stuff Done Step 1
    Stand up and stretch. Motivate yourself to get organized and take action by physically waking up your body.[2] Stand up straight, with your hands at your sides, and do side stretches.[3]
    • Stand with your legs hip distance apart. Breath in and raise your arms to the ceiling. Roll your shoulders back and tuck in your tailbone.
    • As you exhale, bend over to your right side. Let your hands fall to the right. Reach up and over with your arms. Hold this for 4-5 breaths.
    • Inhale and return to the center, with your arms to the ceiling.
    • As you exhale, bend over to your left side. Let your hands fall to the left. Reach up and over with your arms. Hold this for 4-5 breaths.
    • Inhale and return to the center. Reach your arms up to the ceiling and slowly lower them to your sides as you exhale.
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    Create a pre-work routine. Establishing a routine and set way of preparing to get to work or get stuff done will put you in the mindset to focus. Your routine might include a cup of coffee and breakfast in the morning, followed by a quick stretch. Or you might take your dog for a quick walk and have lunch. You may then have a designated area of your home or room where you do your work.[4]
    • Once you sit down at your desk or work area, organize any papers or materials you may need. Then, focus on getting to work.
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    Eliminate any distractions. Turn your cellphone to vibrate, shut the door of your room, and let the people around you know that you are now getting to work. You may also want to turn off your wifi access if you do not need the internet to get things done.[5]
    • If you know you are easily distracted during a certain time of day, such are around lunch time or during the mid day, be sure to prepare for this. Set aside time in your daily routine or schedule for a quick snack during the day or a lunch so it becomes part of your routine, rather than a distraction.

Part 2
Getting Organized

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    Make a to-do list. The first item on your list should be something you can go do right now. This could be as simple as cleaning the dishes from last night or calling a friend you have been meaning to get in touch with. The second item on the list should be something else you can get done in the next 2-5 minutes. And so on. This will cause you to act on the list of things you need to get done within an immediate window. Put more time consuming items further down on your list. By the time you get to them, you should be motivated enough to tackle them.[6]
    • If you don’t know how to do something, but need to get it done (such as “do my taxes” or “fix the broken door handle”), make a note to check for ways to learn how to do this activity. Put on your list: “Ask Mom about doing taxes” or “Check online forums for how to fix a broken door handle.”
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    Put important dates in your calendar. Organize your commitments and appointments on a physical calendar or on your phone using a calendar tool. Be detailed with the description of the appointment so you can remember what it is later. For example: “Hair Appointment at Bev’s Salon” or “Meeting with Kelsey at Original Joe’s Restaurant on 5th Street”.[7]
    • If you put the dates in your phone calendar, you should also set a reminder alarm 1 day or several hours before the appointment in case you forget about it.
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    Set tight deadlines and goals. Next to your to-do list or the note in your calendar, write the date you will complete the task. If the task is ongoing, such as a fitness goal or long standing appointment, be specific about the time of day you will complete the goal on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.[8]
    • If possible, try to get items on your to do list or your calendar done 1-2 days ahead. That way, there is a buffer of time between when something is due, such as your science paper or your final report for your boss, and you won’t stress out when the deadline appears.

Part 3
Getting Stuff Done

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    Outline your projects during your productive moments. According to a theory by Stanford psychologist B.J. Fogg, your motivation comes in waves. Sometimes, you feel like you are riding a high of motivation and productivity, and other times it might seem like you are caught in a low point of motivation and productivity, or a slump. Rather than try to get everything done during your peak motivation, you should outline all your tasks or projects so that when your motivation dips down, you can work on the tasks quickly based on all the pre-work or pre-planning you completed during your high motivation points.[9]
    • For example, you may be trying to work on a paper about colony collapse in honey bees for a class. During your peak motivation time, do some research on honey bees and the causes of colony collapse and create an outline for the paper, as well as your thesis. Then, when you are feeling less motivated or productive, you can use the pre-work you did to fill in the gaps and finish the paper.
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    Create a rewards system. Per our most basic instincts, we are motivated to complete tasks in order to feel a sense of accomplishment, and have a reason to reward ourselves. Think of your favorite food, such as chocolate, or your favorite activity, such as watching a tv show or playing a video game. Then, tell yourself you can only indulge in a favorite pastime if you complete one item on your to do list first.[10]
    • Trade one item on your to do list, or several items, for time spent doing something you enjoy. But don’t go overboard and only reward yourself when you complete a task.
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    Check items off your to-do list as they are completed. Note your accomplishment by marking off an item or task on your list once it is done. This will also help you keep track of how many items you have yet to complete and motivate you to work your way to the end of the list.[11]
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    Involve others in your tasks and goals. Hold yourself accountable to your to do list and your must do errands or tasks by talking to others about your plans for the day.[12]
    • Share your productive spirit and your fear of failing by telling close friends, partners, or family about your goals. This way, you will be motivated to accomplish them and have allies who are encouraging you to get stuff done, instead of daydream.

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Categories: Dreams