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Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity

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That is Half 2. You received’t get Half 2 in case you haven’t learn Half 1 but. Right here’s Half 1.


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pro-cras-ti-na-tion |prəˌkrastəˈnāSHən, prō-|
the motion of ruining your personal life for no obvious cause

Let me begin by saying that I’ve had nearly sufficient of the irony of battling by means of crippling procrastination whereas making an attempt to put in writing posts on procrastination and methods to beat it. I’ve spent the final two weeks being this man, who shoots himself within the foot whereas speaking about gun security, and I sit up for getting again to irony-free procrastination following this put up.

A pair notes earlier than we start:

  • I’m not an expert at any of this, only a lifelong procrastinator who thinks about this subject on a regular basis. I’m nonetheless in a complete battle with my very own habits, however I’ve made some progress in the previous few years, and I’m drawing my ideas from what’s labored for me.
  • This put up was posted late, not solely as a result of it took me 2,000 years to do, but additionally as a result of I made a decision that Monday night time was an pressing time to open Google Earth, hover just a few hundred ft above the southern tip of India, and scroll all the way in which up India to the highest of the nation, to “get a greater really feel for India.” I’ve issues.

Alright, so final week we dove into the on a regular basis interior battle of the procrastinator to look at the underlying psychology occurring. However this week, once we’re really making an attempt to do one thing about it, we have to dig even deeper. Let’s start by making an attempt to unwrap the procrastinator’s psychology and see what’s actually on the core of issues:

We all know in regards to the Instantaneous Gratification Monkey (the a part of your mind that makes you procrastinate) and his dominion over the Rational Resolution Maker, however what’s actually taking place there?

The procrastinator is within the dangerous behavior, bordering on habit, of letting the monkey win. He continues to have the intention to regulate the monkey, however he places forth a hapless effort, utilizing the identical proven-not-to-work strategies he’s used for years, and deep down, he is aware of the monkey will win. He vows to alter, however the patterns simply keep the identical. So why would an in any other case succesful individual put forth such a lame and futile effort time and again?

The reply is that he has extremely low confidence relating to this a part of his life, permitting himself to change into enslaved by a self-defeating, self-fulfilling prophecy. Let’s name this self-fulfilling prophecy his Storyline. The procrastinator’s Storyline goes one thing like this:

For the Have-To-Dos in my life, I’ll find yourself ready till the final minute, panicking, after which both doing lower than my greatest work or shutting down and never doing something in any respect. For the Need-To-Dos in my life, let’s be trustworthy—I’ll both begin one and stop or extra probably, I simply received’t ever get round to it.

The procrastinator’s issues run deep, and it takes one thing greater than “being extra self-disciplined” or “altering his dangerous habits” for him to alter his methods—the basis of the issue is embedded in his Storyline, and his Storyline is what should change.


Earlier than we speak about how Storylines change, let’s look at, concretely, what the procrastinator even needs to alter into. What do the precise habits even seem like, and the place precisely will the procrastinator run into hassle?

There are two elements of having the ability to obtain issues in a wholesome and efficient method—planning and doing. Let’s begin with the straightforward one:


Procrastinators love planning, fairly just because planning doesn’t contain doing, and doing is the procrastinator’s Kryptonite.

However when procrastinators plan, they love to do it in a obscure means that doesn’t contemplate particulars or actuality too intently, and their planning leaves them completely set as much as not really accomplish something. A procrastinator’s planning session leaves him with a doer’s nightmare:

A giant checklist of icky, daunting duties and undertakings.

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图

A giant checklist of obscure and daunting issues makes the Instantaneous Gratification Monkey snicker. If you make a listing like that, the monkey says, “Oh good, that is simple.” Even when your gullible acutely aware thoughts believes it intends to perform the objects on that checklist in an environment friendly method, the monkey is aware of that in your unconscious, you don’t have any intention of doing so.

Efficient planning, alternatively, units you up for success. Its function is to do the precise reverse of all the things in that sentence:

Efficient planning takes a large checklist and selects a winner:

A giant checklist is maybe an early section of planning, however planning should finish with rigorous prioritizing and one merchandise that emerges because the winner—the merchandise you’re going to make your first precedence. And the merchandise that wins must be the one meaning probably the most to you—the merchandise that’s most vital in your happiness. If pressing objects are concerned, these must come first and must be knocked out as shortly as attainable with a view to make means for the vital objects (procrastinators love to make use of unimportant however pressing objects as an excuse to eternally postpone the vital ones).

Efficient planning makes an icky merchandise un-icky:

Everyone knows what an icky merchandise is. An icky merchandise is obscure and murky, and also you’re probably not positive the place you’d begin, the way you’d go about doing it, or the place you’d get solutions to your questions on it.

So let’s say your dream is to make your personal app, and you recognize that in case you construct a profitable app you can stop your job and change into a full-time developer. You additionally suppose that programming potential is the literacy of the twenty first century, and also you don’t have cash to spend outsourcing growth anyway, so that you resolve to anoint “Discover ways to code” the successful merchandise in your checklist—the primary precedence. Thrilling, proper?

Nicely, no, as a result of “Discover ways to code” is an intensely icky merchandise—and each time you resolve it’s time to get began, you’ll coincidentally additionally resolve your inbox must be cleaned out and your kitchen ground must be mopped, ASAP. It’ll by no means find yourself taking place.

To un-icky the merchandise, you might want to learn, analysis, and ask questions to search out out precisely how one learns methods to code, the particular means essential for every step alongside the way in which, and the way lengthy each ought to take. Un-ickying a listing merchandise turns it from this:

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图1

Into this:

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图2

Efficient planning turns a frightening merchandise into a collection of small, clear, manageable duties:

Icky combines with Daunting into an Instantaneous Gratification Monkey steroid potion. And simply since you un-icky an merchandise, it doesn’t imply it’s nonetheless not horribly large and daunting. The important thing to de-dauntifying an merchandise is to soak up this truth:

A exceptional, superb achievement is simply what a protracted collection of unremarkable, unglorious duties appears to be like like from distant.

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图3

Nobody “builds a home.” They lay one brick time and again and once more and the top result’s a home. Procrastinators are nice visionaries—they like to fantasize in regards to the lovely mansion they’ll in the future have constructed—however what they must be are gritty development employees, who methodically lay one brick after the opposite, day after day, with out giving up, till a home is constructed.

Practically each large endeavor may be boiled all the way down to a core unit of progress—its brick. A forty five-minute gymnasium go to is the brick of getting in nice form. A 30-minute follow session is the brick of turning into an important guitarist.

The typical day in a wannabe writer’s week and an actual writer’s week appears to be like virtually the identical. The true writer writes a pair pages, laying a brick, and the wannabe writer writes nothing. 98% of their day is in any other case similar. However a 12 months later, the actual writer has a accomplished first draft of a e-book and the wannabe writer has…nothing.

It’s all in regards to the bricks.

And the excellent news is, laying one brick isn’t daunting. However bricks do require scheduling. So the ultimate step in planning is to make a Brick Timeline, which slots bricks into the calendar. The slots are non-negotiable and non-cancellable—in any case, it’s your first precedence and the factor that issues most to you, isn’t it? An important date is the primary one. You’ll be able to’t begin studying to code “in November.” However you can begin studying to code on November twenty first from 6:00 – 7:00pm.

Now you’re successfully deliberate—simply observe the schedule and also you’ll be a programmer. Solely factor left is to do


It’s not that procrastinators don’t just like the idea of doing. They have a look at the bricks on their calendar they usually suppose, “Nice, this will probably be enjoyable.” And that’s as a result of after they image the second sooner or later after they sit down and knock out a piece session, they image issues with out the presence of the Instantaneous Gratification Monkey. Procrastinators’ visions of future eventualities by no means appear to incorporate the monkey.

However when the precise second arrives to start that scheduled brick-laying, the procrastinator does what the procrastinator does greatest—he lets the monkey take over and break all the things.

And since we simply confused above that each one achievement boils all the way down to the flexibility to put that one brick throughout that slot when it’s in your schedule, we appear to have remoted the core battle right here. Let’s look at this particular problem of laying a single brick:

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图4

So this diagram represents the problem at hand anytime you tackle a activity, whether or not it’s making a PowerPoint for work, occurring a jog, engaged on a script, or the rest you do in your life. The Vital Entrance is the place you go to formally begin work on the duty, the Darkish Woods are the method of really doing the work, and when you end, you’re rewarded by ending up in The Blissful Playground—a spot the place you’re feeling satisfaction and the place leisure time is nice and rewarding since you received one thing onerous carried out. You sometimes even find yourself super-engaged with what you’re engaged on and enter a state of Move, the place you’re so blissfully immersed within the activity that you simply lose monitor of time.

These paths look one thing like this:

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图5

Sounds fairly easy, proper?

Nicely sadly for procrastinators, they have a tendency to overlook out on each The Blissful Playground and Move.

For instance, right here’s a procrastinator that by no means even will get began on the duty he’s speculated to do, as a result of he by no means makes it by means of the Vital Entrance. As a substitute, he spends hours wallowing in The Darkish Playground, hating himself:

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图6

Right here’s a procrastinator who will get began on the duty, however she will’t keep centered, and he or she retains taking lengthy breaks to play on the web and make meals. She doesn’t find yourself ending the duty:

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图7

Right here’s a procrastinator who couldn’t convey himself to get began, although a piece deadline was approaching, and he spent hours in The Darkish Playground, understanding the looming deadline was drawing close to and he was solely making his life tougher by not beginning. Ultimately, the deadline received so shut, the Panic Monster out of the blue got here roaring into the room, freaking him out and inflicting him to fly by means of the duty to hit the deadline.

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图8

After he finishes, he feels first rate as a result of he achieved one thing, however he’s additionally not that happy as a result of he is aware of he did an underwhelming job on the mission as a result of he needed to rush a lot, and he appears like he wasted most of his day procrastinating for no cause. This lands him in Combined Emotions Park.

So in case you’re a procrastinator, let’s have a look at what you might want to do to get on the precise path, one that can go away you a lot happier.

The very first thing you should do is make it by means of the Vital Entrance. This implies stopping no matter you’re doing when it’s time to start the duty, placing away all distractions, and getting began. It sounds easy, however that is the toughest half. That is the place the Instantaneous Gratification Monkey places up his fiercest resistance:

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图9

The monkey completely hates stopping one thing enjoyable to begin one thing onerous, and that is the place you might want to be the strongest. If you may get began and drive the monkey into the Darkish Woods, you’ve damaged a little bit of his will.

In fact, he’s not going to surrender anytime quickly.

The Darkish Woods is the place you might be once you’re working. It’s not a enjoyable place to be, and the Instantaneous Gratification Monkey needs nothing to do with it. To make issues tougher, the Darkish Woods is surrounded by the Darkish Playground, one of many monkey’s favourite locations, and since he can see how shut it’s, he’ll attempt as onerous as he can to go away the Darkish Woods.

There may even be instances once you bump right into a tree—perhaps the jog is taking you on an uphill road, perhaps you might want to use an Excel formulation you don’t know, perhaps that tune you’re writing simply isn’t coming collectively the way in which you thought it will—and that is when the monkey will make his boldest try at an escape.

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图10

It is not sensible to go away the Darkish Woods in favor of the Darkish Playground—they’re each darkish. They each suck to be in, however the large distinction is the Darkish Woods results in happiness and the Darkish Playground leads solely to extra distress. However the Instantaneous Gratification Monkey isn’t logical and to him, the Darkish Playground looks as if way more enjoyable.

The excellent news is, in case you can energy by means of a little bit of the Darkish Woods, one thing humorous occurs. Making progress on a activity produces constructive emotions of accomplishment and raises your vanity. The monkey good points his power off of low vanity, and once you really feel a jolt of self-satisfaction, the monkey finds a Excessive Self-Esteem Banana in his path. It doesn’t quell his resistance totally, however it goes a protracted strategy to distracting him for some time, and also you’ll discover that the urge to procrastinate has diminished.

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图11

Then, in case you proceed alongside, one thing magical occurs. When you get 2/3 or 3/4 of the way in which by means of a activity, particularly if it’s going nicely, you begin to really feel nice about issues and out of the blue, the top is in sight. This can be a key tipping level—

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图12

The Tipping Level is vital as a result of it’s not simply you who can odor the Blissful Playground up forward—the monkey can odor it too. The monkey doesn’t care if his immediate gratification comes alongside you or at your expense, he simply loves issues which can be simple and enjoyable. When you hit the Tipping Level, the monkey turns into extra excited by attending to the Blissful Playground than the Darkish Playground. When this occurs, you lose all impulse to procrastinate and now each you and the monkey are dashing towards the end.

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图13

Earlier than you recognize it, you’re carried out, and also you’re within the Blissful Playground. Now, for the primary time shortly, you and the monkey are a workforce. You each need to have enjoyable, and it feels nice as a result of it’s earned. If you and the monkey are on a workforce, you’re virtually at all times completely happy.

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图14

The opposite factor that may occur once you move the Tipping Level, relying on the kind of activity and the way nicely it’s going, is that you simply may begin feeling incredible about what you’re engaged on, so incredible that persevering with to work appears like a lot extra enjoyable than stopping to do leisure actions. You’ve change into obsessive about the duty and also you lose curiosity in mainly all the things else, together with meals and time—that is referred to as Move. Move isn’t solely a blissful feeling, it’s often once you do nice issues.

The monkey is simply as hooked on the bliss as you might be, and also you two are once more a workforce.

Unleash Your Full Potential: Conquer Procrastination and Skyrocket Your Productivity插图15

Preventing by means of to the Tipping Level is tough, however what makes procrastination so onerous to beat is that the Instantaneous Gratification Monkey has a very short-term reminiscence—even in case you wildly succeed on Monday, once you start a activity on Tuesday, the monkey has forgotten all the things and can once more resist getting into the Darkish Woods or working by means of them.

And that’s why persistence is such a essential part of success. Laying every brick yields an interior battle—and ultimately, your potential to win this very particular battle and lay brick after brick, day after day, is what lies on the core of a procrastinator’s battle to realize management over his world.

In order that’s what must occur—but when procrastination might be solved by studying a weblog entry, it wouldn’t be such a big downside in so many individuals’s lives. There’s just one strategy to really beat procrastination:

You want to show to your self that you are able to do it.

You want to present your self you are able to do it, not inform your self. Issues will change once you present your self that they will. Till then, you received’t imagine it, and nothing will change. Consider your self like a basketball participant on a chilly streak. For basketball gamers, it’s all about confidence, and an ice chilly shooter can inform himself 1000 instances, “I’m an important shooter, I’m going to hit this subsequent one,” however it’s not till he bodily hits a shot that his confidence goes up and his contact comes again.

So how do you begin hitting pictures?

1) Attempt to internalize the truth that all the things you do is a alternative.

Begin by serious about the phrases we’ve utilized in these posts, and in the event that they resonated with you, write them down. A part of the explanation I assigned phrases to so many of those emotions or phenomena—the Instantaneous Gratification Monkey, the Rational Resolution-Maker, the Panic Monster, the Darkish Playground, Ickiness, Bricks, the Vital Entrance, the Darkish Woods, the Tipping Level, the Blissful Playground, Move, your Storyline—is that phrases enable you make clear the truth of the alternatives you’re making. It helps expose dangerous selections and highlights when it’s most crucial to make good ones.

2) Create strategies that will help you defeat the monkey.

Some attainable strategies:

  • Solicit exterior help by telling a number of mates or relations a few purpose you’re making an attempt to perform and asking them to carry you to it. If that’s onerous for no matter cause, electronic mail it to me—I’m a stranger ([email protected])—and simply typing out a purpose and sending it to an actual individual might help make it extra actual. (Some specialists argue that telling individuals in your life a few purpose may be counterproductive, so this relies on your specific scenario.)
  • Create a Panic Monster if there’s not already one in place—in case you’re making an attempt to complete an album, schedule a efficiency for just a few months from now, e-book an area, and ship out an invite to a gaggle of individuals.
  • Should you actually need to begin a enterprise, quitting your job makes the Panic Monster your new roommate.
  • Should you’re making an attempt to put in writing a constant weblog, put “new put up each Tuesday” on the prime of the web page…
  • Depart post-it notes for your self, reminding you to make good selections.
  • Set an alarm to remind your self to begin a activity, or to remind you of the stakes.
  • Decrease distractions by all means essential. If TV’s an enormous downside, promote your TV. If the web’s an enormous downside, get a second laptop for work that has Wifi disabled, and switch your cellphone on Airplane Mode throughout work classes.
  • Lock your self into one thing—put down a non-refundable deposit for classes or a membership.

And if the strategies you arrange aren’t working, change them. Set a reminder for a month from now that claims, “Have issues improved? If not, change my strategies.”

3) Intention for gradual, regular progress—Storylines are rewritten one web page at a time.

In the identical means an important achievement occurs unglorious brick by unglorious brick, a deeply-engrained behavior like procrastination doesn’t change , it modifications one modest enchancment at a time. Bear in mind, that is all about exhibiting your self you are able to do it, so the important thing isn’t to be good, however to easily enhance. The writer who writes one web page a day has written a e-book after a 12 months. The procrastinator who will get barely higher each week is a very modified individual a 12 months later.

So don’t take into consideration going from A to Z—simply begin with A to B. Change the Storyline from “I procrastinate on each onerous activity I do” to “As soon as per week, I do a tough activity with out procrastinating.” If you are able to do that, you’ve began a pattern. I’m nonetheless a wretched procrastinator, however I’m positively higher than I used to be final 12 months, so I really feel hopeful in regards to the future.

Why do I take into consideration this subject a lot, and why did I simply write a 3,500-word weblog put up on it?

As a result of defeating procrastination is identical factor as gaining management over your personal life. A lot of what makes individuals completely happy or sad—their degree of achievement and satisfaction, their vanity, the regrets they carry with them, the quantity of free time they need to dedicate to their relationships—is severely affected by procrastination. So it’s worthy of being taken useless significantly, and the time to begin bettering is now.


The follow-up to those two posts: The Procrastination Matrix

And two extra associated posts:

Why you shouldn’t care what different individuals suppose. A unique battle occurring in one other a part of your mind. Meet the mammoth.

A faith for the nonreligious. A fair deeper have a look at the take care of the monkey and the opposite animals in your mind.
Whereas they’re ruining your life, you may as nicely cuddle with them:

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