A Busy Man’s Brief Guide To Stopping Procrastination

I was on the phone with one of my email subscribers and he told me he likes shorter posts. He doesn’t have the attention span to read a long post and will scan it.

Therefore, I’m combining that feedback with the popular request to talk about how to defeat procrastination and dealing with the inability to concentration. This is fast, short guide on stopping procrastination.

Hyper-Incentivize With A Time-Sensitive Reward

I learned this from the fitness trainer, Matt Kido. Always bored of cardio? Sick of repetitive work? Watch an amazing show (Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, West World, Dragon Ball Super, Attack on Titan) while running on a treadmill or biking. The kickers?

  • It has to be a show that is so amazing that you love it and can’t wait until you watch it again.
  • You can only watch this show while you’re working out.

By doing this, you are chaining a reward that makes you drool with a habit you want to build.

Well, how do you know it’s a good show? Sometimes, you’ll have to test out a few shows or movies. You’ll find it eventually.

It doesn’t have to be a TV show you’re doing this with or exercise. You can apply this to anything. Add an enjoyable activity to what you find un-enjoyable. 

Ideas:

  • Eating out when studying.
  • Listening to books while dancing.
  • Playing video games while listening to a video course.
  • Improving your photography skills while traveling.

Warning: if possible, avoid choosing unproductive rewards like junk food. If you feed one good habit with a bad habit, you’re taking one step forward and one step back.

Simplify to One

Out of all the tasks you can accomplish in a single day, what is the most important? It usually isn’t urgent — it’s a task you’ve been procrastinating on.

Once you decide what it is, write out the task somewhere big where you can see it. It can be a giant whiteboard or piece of paper. It can also be on your computer monitor’s or phone’s screensaver.

There’s a browser extension called Momentum that makes it your screen when you open a new tab. The more frequently it catches your eye throughout the day, the better.

Your goal should be to finish this task before anything else when you start your day. Your measure of success for the day will be whether you finish this task.

By starting the day with this task, you leave no room for distractions to set you off course. You also give yourself the best hours of the day when you’re most fresh to start and finish the task.

I learned this concept from Warren Buffett, who often only has around 3 big goals for the entire month on his calendar. The rest of the pages in his calendar are empty.

Warning: don’t make the task too big or intimidating. It’s better to make it smaller and into a manageable chunk. If it’s too overwhelming, you won’t ever get over the intimidation hump to even start.

There you go! Two short, actionable tips that you can test out immediately. Go forth!

Which tactic do you like better? How are you going to use it? Let me know in the comments below.

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