Manage Your Zoo: The Ultimate Time Management Tip for the Procrastinator

One in five people suffer from a chronic problem: the habit of procrastination

It always seems like tomorrow is a better day to get things started. And then, at the end of the day, when you look back on the tasks you didn’t complete, you regret not starting on them early. The core issue here is one that many of us face: time management

What is time management? It is the ability to use time productively, which is much easier said than done. 

But what if there was a simple formula for managing your time? So simple that all it involves is pretending you’re the owner of a zoo?

The “Manage Your Zoo” system is a time management tip to beat all time management tips. Here’s how it works:

First, Find the Tortoise

Daily to-do lists are often mixed bags. Some tasks seem easier and more fun, while others make you groan at the mere thought of them. We’ll refer to the latter as your tortoise tasks. 

Tortoise tasks are hotbeds for procrastination—they’re boring, they take a lot of time to complete, and they end up slowing down your day. For this reason, the tortoise should always be the first task you tackle in the morning. 

Sure, the anxiety and pull of procrastination might keep you from doing so. But if you really want to learn how to be better with time management, there’s no better way than conquering the tortoise right away. 

Then, Split the Herd of Elephants

Next, there are the tasks that make you want to crawl back into bed for the rest of the day. They seem so difficult and time-consuming that you feel compelled to complain and avoid them for hours.

These are elephant tasks—so complex that you cannot even begin to gain momentum to complete it. 

The most effective way to deal with a herd of elephants is to break them down into smaller units. Once you’ve completed even a small part of an elephant task, you’ll feel a great sense of achievement that’ll motivate you to go on.

Now, Subdue the Monkeys

Unless you’re already an expert in managing your time, chances are that your to-do list is all over the place. Tasks are arranged haphazardly in no particular order, maybe even complete chaos—like a troop of monkeys that cannot be controlled. 

Before you can become the efficient person you were always meant to be, start small and adjust your to-do list. Get rid of all backlogs, and start slotting tasks into proper time schedules. 

One technique is to identify all tasks that are similar in nature and group them together. Organizing your to-do list will also help you find patterns in tasks you can tackle together; for instance, going to the grocery store while on the way to the mechanic.

Finally, Stay Away From the Felines

Cats are cute. So cute, in fact, that a simple video of one on Instagram can lead to scrolling related videos for 20 minutes. Cats are so fun to look at, but they basically do nothing. 

Similarly, there are distractions in your life that eat away at your productivity and offer you very little in return. Social media is, of course, the most prominent example here. Gossiping colleagues are also common distractions. 

Focus on what matters first, complete your tasks, and spend your free time doing whatever you want. 

Final Thoughts

I’ll leave you with this mental image: the next time you find yourself procrastinating or daydreaming, imagine instead that you’re the Tarzan of your jungle of procrastination, swinging from vine to vine, completing tasks with ease, and taming the beasts that keep you away from your full potential. 

Manage your zoo, don’t let it manage you.  

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