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How to Stop Procrastinating



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how does someone go from being a serial

procrastinator to one who actually gets

things done well before a deadline

that's a great question and in order to

answer it I'm gonna have to take you way

back like way way back like lots of

students back in college I almost always

waited until the very last minute to

work on papers study for finals and plan

for my classes I was busy doing other

things

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and those problems compounded towards

the end of my senior year after months

of putting off a meeting with my

guidance counselor I finally relented

and cleared some room from my really

busy schedule to sit down with her but

it turns out that I was already too late

she informed me that I didn't have the

right credits to graduate apparently I'd

done a really bad job of planning out my

classes oh [ __ ]

so in order to get my degree I had to

spend $10,000 on two classes the summer

after the rest of my fellow classmates

were graduating those two classes and I

kid you not for basic algebra and

weightlifting now I can spend a whole

lot of time bitching and moaning about

how the system is unfair how college is

too expensive why would a filmmaker need

to take these two classes to begin with

but the truth is if I've actually just

been a little bit proactive if I was

able to overcome this chronic

procrastination I would have avoided all

of these problems I've come a long way

from those early days and it wasn't a

straight line to figure out how to

improve my work habits but I want to

share some of the things that I've

learned and some of the resources that

have helped me the most first I think it

helps to understand what we're up

against and no book has made that more

clear than do the work by Steven

Pressfield I've mentioned steven

pressfield's book on this channel a few

times before and with good reason it's

inspired thousands of people to silence

their inner critic and simply get to

work as Steven Pressfield

writes resistance cannot be seen her

touched or smelled but it can be felt we

experience it as an energy field

radiating from a work in potential

resistance is a repelling force it's

negative its aim is to shove us away

distract us prevent us from doing our

work when you see your work as a battle

to be fought every day you will take

your work more seriously and see the

resistance when it slides into your DMS

those are my words not steven

pressfield's

part of the battle to overcome

procrastination or resistance whatever

you want to call it comes with

understanding just how delusional we are

about the task that needs to be done

it's almost never as difficult or

painful as we make it out to be I know

that as long as I can get past the first

30 minutes of work things will

eventually get easier if I just commit

to sitting down for 30 minutes to start

writing organizing my taxes or

responding to emails then things will

slowly start to fall into place

it's that blank page that's most

paralyzing but something amazing happens

when your brain starts to kick into gear

you enter a state of flow it's

technically defined as an optimal state

of consciousness where we feel our best

when we perform our best and more

colloquially right it's any of those

moments of rapt attention total

absorption it's so focused on what

you're doing that everything else just

vanishes Steven Kotler is an author and

has been researching the flow state for

the past two decades how do you drive

focus in the present moment one of the

big ways you do it is you release

dopamine there are five different flow

triggers that are all dopamine triggers

so risk produces dopamine right whenever

we take a risk we get dummy dopamine

it's how the brain fires up for taking

that risk whenever we encounter novelty

we get dopamine complexity produces

dopamine unpredictability produces

dopamine and so does pattern recognition

which is the linking of ideas together

by utilizing flow triggers we prime our

brains to get to work Steven suggests

instead of staring at a blank page you

might want to start by editing something

you've already written that flow trigger

would be pattern recognition he's also

got a clever way to do mundane tasks

that I wish I knew about back in college

I spent a lot of time reading text books

these days which is not the most

exciting thing to do but I like I love

to do it I always go someplace new

because I want the novelty because it's

gonna produce dopamine which is going to

tighten focus and you know hopefully

drive me into flow while I'm reading but

one way or another when you get more

dopamine in your system learning rates

go up in as a general rule also so going

and doing my home

basically the hard stuff I've got to do

to do my job just in different coffee

shops that I would not normally go to

that just that little bit of novelty is

enough I'll be going more into Stephens

work and the flow state in a video in a

couple of weeks one technique that might

help you get started is called the

Pomodoro Technique this is something

that I first learned about through

Thomas Frank's YouTube channel I'm sure

you guys are familiar with Thomas but if

not I'll leave a link down in the

description it's very simple essentially

you set a timer and you work for 25

minutes and then you take a five-minute

break and you repeat that over and over

again it can be an effective way to

reduce procrastination and increase

productivity because it creates a sense

of urgency instead of looking at your

work week and seeing just wide open

blocks of time you give yourself a time

constraint to crank out as much as you

possibly can it's something that my

editor Oskar has gotten a ton of value

from in the past few weeks it's great

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I've never personally followed the

Pomodoro Technique but I have used

timers to create that sense of urgency

as well as to take a break from staring

at a screen all day generally what I do

is I'll set a timer for 60 minutes and

then I'll start working a lot of times I

forget about the timer if it does ring

and I feel compelled to step away from

my work it's a nice break so I'm not

always just staring at a screen

hour after hour every single day so if

you're working on a very big project

let's say something that's gonna take

you more than one day maybe weeks or

months what's helped me is to create

additional deadlines leading up to my

final deadline working backwards from

that true deadline I can break my

project up into multiple milestones

leaving some room for buffer in the

event that things take longer than

expected hint things always take longer

than expected even creating weekly

meetings and personal check-ins on your

calendar can be a great way to help you

stay on track and accountable now my

wife Natalie and I as many of you know

got married at a drive-through wedding

in Vegas yes that's really a thing that

we did but we are also planning right

now a wedding in Italy and this has been

something that has certainly created a

lot of stress in well I want to say I

want to say my life but really Natalie

is the one that's doing all the work

since the beginning Natalie has had a

very difficult time wrangling me and

getting me to do the work necessary to

plan the wedding it just always seemed

to me to be well boring but also it just

seemed crazy that there was just so much

time we had a year year and a half to

plan this thing it always seemed like

there would be more time or a better

time to actually get the work done but

as I'm aware from past experiences if I

continued with that mentality it could

lead to devastating consequences oh [ __ ]

so I suggested that NAT and I schedule

one-hour meetings every Monday night at

7 p.m. most weeks there would be things

to discuss decisions to make and plans

to coordinate instead of having Natalie

hound me every week with things to do

and instead of me putting things off

week after week we had a set time to

meet up to collaborate to discuss things

and to get

things done and importantly for me I had

a deadline every week at 7 p.m. on

Monday to turn things in to my boss

I mean Natalie to turn things into

Natalie I've also found it helpful to

create rewards for myself there are many

days where I have the urge to play video

games first thing in the morning instead

of getting straight to work the

difficulty and uncertainty of my work

sometimes seems daunting while on the

other hand playing video game seems

relaxing and therapeutic cutting video

games completely out of my life isn't

the right solution for me personally

because well well I like to play video

games and I wouldn't be as happy if I

never got to play them again so instead

what I do is I actually take video games

and I turn it into a reward a reward for

doing the thing that I really don't want

to do I'll give myself a clear task like

spend 3 hours calculating and adding

receipts into my accounting software and

then once I'm finished I'll allow myself

to play video games now I've not only

gotten some important work done but I

can actually enjoy this activity

guilt-free because I earned it I was

honestly talking with your mom last

night I don't think that she would

really appreciate that language

so all these hodgepodge of tactics

mindsets and strategies have become

essential tools for me that allow me to

do the work that I do every day and the

good news is the more you do them the

better you get at it the less likely you

are to procrastinate but be warned the

resistance is very sneaky and comes up

with lots of creative ways to pull you

away from the work that you find most

important oh [ __ ]

one thing that I've been procrastinating

for a while is trying new things that's

why right now I'm making dough not like

money dough but like dough dough all

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design and even making bread in the past

I've learned really valuable lessons

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think I overcooked it