How To Trick Yourself Into Overcoming Procrastination
“A procrastination is like a credit card: It’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”
— Christopher Parker
Whenever I catch myself procrastinating, this is my go-to trick and it always works, because its simple.
The first thing we need is a goal and a high leverage activity.
Here’s my example:
- Goal: Publish two articles a week
- High leverage activity: Writing (articles)
Now, writing is too generic, so let’s deconstruct it into mini activities (ones which I follow):
- Coming up with a topic for the article
- Research (keywords, facts, quotes, stories)
- Writing headline
- Doing a brain dump of the topic
- Organise it in sections
- Rewrite each one from the beginning
- Cut out everything that’s unnecessary
- Finish writing the article
- Edit it
- Find a cover
- Format the article
- Add SEO
- Publish the article.
I feel overwhelmed, just by reading this list.
We humans by default think in the future, or in this case the goal would be to publish an article. And everything we have to do until we do it. Previously mentioned list.
This automatically demotivates us, and our go-to action is to procrastinate. Yes, procrastination is an action. Which we haven’t taken consciously, but it’s still an action.
We operate on the basis of the pain vs. pleasure.
In this example, I associated pain with doing all of these things, and pleasure with watching the latest episode of TV Show Billions.
Here comes the trick.
In these moments, I’ve programmed myself to stop thinking about everything I need to do, but just the first smallest task, coming up with the topic for the article.
Now, the perception of the task is not that big; it starts to look manageable, plus I like coming up with ideas.
All I need to do is to sit down, and open Sublime Text 3 (my go-to writing software), and write down possible ideas. Not complicated.
But you see, something interesting happens at this point.
At the moment I start writing, and define the topic, I further generate ideas on what I can write about, and I do it without thinking about it.
Since I was immersed for a couple of minutes, the state of flow starts to develop, together with a momentum.
Without noticing it, I start researching. And writing the headline, and so on.
Before you know it, it has been three hours, and the article is published.
It all started with figuring out what do you want to write about.
The Final Takeaway
It’s your turn. Define your goal, choose your highest leverage activity and deconstruct it into smaller tasks, and good luck.
Whenever procrastination creeps in, now you have a way to eliminate it quickly.