T Nation

How Do You Fight Procrastination?


#1

Pretty straight forward. I’m pretty sure 95% of us have had problem with procrastination. What did y’all do to overcome it?


#2

Holy fuck, I’m the worst.

Procrastinating right now. Sat down at 11AM to start a project due tomorrow, still haven’t begun…


#3

Used to be really bad. It’s not a problem now, though. I’ll tell you how to fight it later.


#4

Just shut up and do it, dont make excuses or look for fancy explanations.


#5

There is evidence to suggest that this is the answer actually (kind of). It falls a bit more into “Popsci” that real, objective, settled science but the idea is this:

The conclusion drawn was that the brain gets “anxious” about unfinished business and seeks closure, or rather your brain puts more emphasis on uncompleted tasks and “forgets” completed ones. So if you can convince yourself to simply start the project you are procrastinating on there is a high likely your brain will trend towards wanting to remember it and finish it.

So if you can “just shut up and START IT” you will have a higher likelihood of just finishing it too.

Here is a slightly lengthier write up on it


#6

I kind of do and kind of don’t. For me it’s pretty simple because tasks fit into three categories: optional, necessary and essential. If I feel like doing an optional task, I do it; if I don’t feel like doing it, I don’t. Necessary tasks I will usually do, but when they are particularly onerous I usually wait until they become essential. Essential tasks I do on or before time no matter what.


#7

Sometimes having too much we intend to do can become a dead weight, and so that’s how a lot of us end up procrastinating. Set your sights low, and make lists. It’s so satisfying to cross items off.


#8

This is how I have to do things. As soon as an idea or task comes to mind I have to go do it. If I think about it too much I’ll think my way out of doing it.


#9

The best way is to crank up the DISCOMFORT…example: Imagine how fucked off with yourself you’d be if you don’t train today, but then also tomorrow & for then a whole month. Really visualize how gash your potentially lazy new reality is going to be and TAKE THE NECESSARY action to make it the opposite of that.


#10

Use your favorite TV show as a reward for finishing.


#11

This is a hyooooooooge problem for me. I don’t have any answers, but am interested in the thread.


#12

This is what it boils down to to me. If I think about it too much I get feelings of being overwhelmed and I turn my mind off from it.

I’ve since taken the approach of, if I feel overwhelmed or a wave of procrastination, I start small. I make a list of everything I can think of that needs to get done and start knocking them out.

Once I turn my mind off of the tasks and start completing them, it’s like a snowball effect…


#13

In a somewhat related note, how does one break down tasks such as… Studying a really dry topic.

I’ll attach a copy of my notes, 1 out of the 13 chapters I have.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-5NupSqcx80NklYb0pRS1NPYkE

How would one go around breaking down something like this? I’ve absolutely no idea how there are people who can literally memorize everything here(x13). And yup, I am required to know everything.


#14

Do you use mind mapping?


#15

I’ve tried it but it doesn’t seem to work too well with me. I like listing things out. That being said, I have shitty memory and I have a shit ton of difficulty when it comes to memorising large chunks of information, which just so happens to be 90% of the education system in my country.

Them people with eidetic memory, they’re truly lucky here haha.


#16

That is already completely broken down.

Read it once for familiarity,

2nd time for specifics

3rd to answer any questions or clarify any misunderstandings.

That is the type of stuff I print out and use for future reference. If possible, its best to have the actual objects so that you can see what it is as you read what it is and how it incorporates into the system.

Most people look like wizards of their subject by being able to recite these things from memory, when in fact they’ve just been working with them for a good while and know that you can’t have a distribution line without valve type xyz, which connects to lalala and enters item Q through orifice D.


#17

I die from lists. I have to just go- next, next, next. Lists kill me just looking at them.


#18

Lists to me are very helpful. When it feels like I have a shit ton to do, I write things down in a discrete list of tasks. That somehow makes it concrete and manageable. I can start on one thing, complete it and move along. If I don’t break it down I can be left with one thing that looks like “Sell house and move to a new Province”. Of course that looks huge and unmanageable.

When I don’t make it concrete, it’s like a cloud of bats flapping around my head and I can’t get hold of any of them. Putting it in black and white contains it all.


#19

I use timers when things are too overwhelming, e.g. graduate school and an internship with mentally ill children while managing a household with four children. I can read academic articles for thirty minutes…just spend 20 minutes trying to at least bring a little order to the house…throw five minutes at the sticky-looking refrigerator.

I like lists, too, but don’t need them unless things are really hectic. Same thing with the timer - mostly I just hit it the way polo does, sort of mantra-ing “I’ll be glad when it’s done and I can relax.”

This is the recommended approach to debt management, too, and I often share it with people at work - “okay, so your [kid/marriage/home/body] is in shambles - what would be the easiest thing to deal with? We’ll start there and work up to the big stuff.”


#20

Usually for me, especially with big tasks, which is one of the reasons I have procrastinated in the past - the task seems insurmountable - I’ll make a list of components for that task, as sequentially as possible. The “snowball” effect results in the large task being completed.