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Monthly Archives: December 2010

I bought a psychology/self-help book for procrastinators: The Now Habit by Neil Fiore, and started reading it today. So far so good. I’ll share any lightbulb moments with you. Here’s the first one:

“Procrastination is not the cause of our problems with accomplishing tasks; it is an attempt to resolve a variety of underlying issues… A complete treatment of procrastination must address the underlying blocked needs that cause a person to resort to procrastination. The Now Habit starts with a new definition:

Procrastination is a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision.

Maybe not a revelation for procrastinators like us, but it’s good to find statements that ring so true. This is why simple admonishments to work harder or be more organized don’t work. They don’t address the underlying thoughts that cause us to resort to procrastination.

Working through this book, I hope to discover what those thoughts are (in me, specifically), how to get rid of them, and then to develop some positive habits of thought and action to change me from a procrastinator to a “producer”.  Wish me luck!

-Johnny 0.

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One idea that has been ringing very true for me lately is that the “me” who sets my deadlines, writes my to-do list and creates my daily plans is not the same “me” who actually sits down to do the work.

I feel so empowered and optimistic when I’m planning.  I’m going to get it done early, I’m going to be so productive today, I’m going to replenish my bank account, I’m going to make my clients happy.

And then I try to get down to work.  I read the first item on my list, and the next thing I know I’m checking Facebook again.  I try to re-focus on the task at hand – and there it is waiting for me, that feeling of dread.  The optimism of a moment ago is already forgotten.  It’s like I’m two different people, the planner and the worker.

Why a timer can help you kick procrastination’s ass.  Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Kick Procrastination’s Ass: Run a Dash (by Merlin Mann) – blog post

Merlin Mann is the author of the 43 Folders blog.

I’m going to shamelessly re-post one of the comments from that article I cited in my previous post.  This respondent points out that any system will only work if it’s part of a right-thinking approach to work.

This might just be the best summary of anti-procrastination behaviour ever:

First, it is crucial to understand that [this method assumes] that you want to organize your non-committed time, that is: time which is not fixed in appointments, meetings etc.

Second, if you are a person who seeks the “best” way to organize tasks: don’t do it! You will spend most of your productive time sorting lists, finding software for your lists, choosing Moleskins and pens etc.

Ultimately, you need these things:

Read More »

Have you ever spent a morning initiating a fancy new task tracking system, carefully entering, prioritizing and sorting all your to-do’s and projects according to a foolproof systematic method… only to find that you don’t like the answer?  What it’s telling you to work on next just doesn’t feel like the most important thing you should be doing right now?  Yeah, me too.  And then a week later, you’re back to that cloud of reminders on sticky notes that surround your monitor.

Numerical task prioritization is for large projects.  Intuition is a powerful tool, let’s use it.

Autofocus

Mark Forster has developed an interesting new system of tracking to-do’s that takes advantage of our natural intuitive understanding of importance.  It is also designed to minimize the amount of time and brain-cycles required to use it (meta-work).  Simplicity is good.  I think it looks really promising and I’m going to give it a try.  You can read about it here:

LifeHacker: The Autofocus Productivity Method: Stop Maintaining To-Do Lists and Start Getting Stuff Done

I’ll let y’all know how it goes.  If you try it, let me know, or tell us what works for you!

-Johnny 0.

Psychologists have determined that there is an evolutionary basis for procrastination. Call it instinctive prioritizing. In pre-historic times, it kept us alive. In the artificial world of work, it gets us into trouble. Trying to un-learn procrastination is an effort to outsmart your caveman self. It’s attempting to hack a million-year-old system.
Enter Lifehacker.com. This website publishes lots of interesting articles on procrastination, time management and related topics. They don’t form a coherent approach, but they are a great source of tips, tricks and ideas.
Articles are organized by tags (categories are for cavemen).  Check out:

Lifehacker.com/Procrastination

Lifehacker.com/TimeManagement

Lifehacker.com/TaskManagement

Lifehacker.com/GettingThingsDone

Lifehacker.com/Productivity

For your reading enjoyment.  But get your work done, first!

If you come across an article that’s particularly insightful for you, let us know here!

Productively yours,

-Johnny 0.