How to Trick Yourself to Stop Procrastinating
Whenever I catch myself procrastinating, this is my go-to trick and it always works, because it's simple.
The first thing we need is a goal and a high leverage activity.
Here’s an 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)
Doing a brain dump of the topic
Organize it in sections
Rewrite each one from the beginning
Cut out everything that’s unnecessary
Finish writing the article
Find a cover
Format the article
Publish the article
I feel overwhelmed, just by reading this list.
We humans by default think in the future and everything we have to do until we do it. 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.
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 the text editor 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 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.
Now it‘s your turn...
Define your goal, choose your highest leverage activity and deconstruct it into smaller tasks, and start with the first one.