11 Ways To Stop Procrastinating—For Good
Image by William Iven

Most of us feel guilty or lazy when we put things off until a later date or time, but procrastination is normal and happens to everyone. The key is not to eliminate the word from your vocabulary, but to find ways to work and rest smarter so that tasks get done.

In this video, investor Tim Ferriss, behavioral economist Dan Ariely, health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels, and others share 11 tips for mastering procrastination including focusing on long-term happiness, understanding the differences between inspiration and motivation, trying the Pomodoro technique, and removing the things that are distracting you from the project at hand.

One interesting tip shared by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charles Duhigg is to build procrastination into your workflow as a reward. "If you need five minutes every hour to look at tweets or to just surf the internet, you need to schedule that into your schedule." According to Duhigg, it's when we try to ignore that urge completely that things fall apart.

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"TIM FERRISS: Alright. Procrastination. Let's talk about it. It's a big topic. And by the way we all face it. It is an ever-present, evergreen issue for a reason and even the people you see on magazine covers, most of them – there are a few mutants, but they all have things they put off and there are a few different tactics, approaches that I found very helpful that I borrowed from whether it's guests on the Tim Ferriss Show or people I interviewed for ""Tools of Titans,"" my newest book. Here we go, so down the list.

DAN ARIELY: So the first I think mistake is that we pursue momentary happiness rather than longer term happiness. We do the things that will make us laugh out loud today kind of, not always laugh out loud but kind of like that. And we don't do the things that are difficult and complex and challenging but give us a very different sense of happiness. Think about something like running a marathon. You don't see anybody happy. If you came as an alien and you imaged people's brains and you looked at their facial expressions as they're running a marathon you would say somebody's punishing them. They are paying for something terrible they've done and this is how they're paying their debt to society. It is kind of miserable, but it's also meaningful and creates a sense of achievement and so on. So we're pursuing momentary pleasure rather than truly understanding the depth of what happiness is or what meaning is.

FERRISS: Prolific music producers like Rick Rubin who's legendary and it all comes down to tiny homework assignments. So Rick, if he has a stuck artist for instance he will say can you get me one word or one line that you might like for this song that you're working on by tomorrow. Is that possible. Mini, mini homework assignments. So with a creative project in the beginning that's one. It's related to a piece of advice that I got from Neil Strauss and that is lower your standards. So he doesn't believe in writer's block. He says your standards are just too high. You're creating performance anxiety for yourself. So the advice that I got from another writer which matches with that is two crappy pages per day. So a lot of people are like I'm going to kill it. I need an ambitious goal. Let me do 1,500 words, 2,000 words per day for this book I'm working on. Well, there's a very high probability that you're going to fall short of that and then you will get demoralized. Then you'll get intimidated by the task and then you will start procrastinating. So make the hurdle. Make the success threshold really, really low. That's what I've done for my last three books is two crappy pages per day. That's all I need. If I don't end up using them that's fine. I just need to get out two crappy pages. If you're going to exercise and you're making a New Year's resolution, don't make it an hour a day, four times a week. No, no, no, no, no. Five to ten minutes at the gym three times a week, plenty. And in all those cases you will feel successful because you've checked your box for success. And then very often you'll exceed that for extra credit. You'll be well, I'm already at the gym. I'll go for an extra ten minutes. Well, I'm already flossing my teeth. We'll do an extra four. Well, I've already hit my two pages but I'm feeling great and I'm in the flow. Maybe I'll do ten. Maybe I'll do 20. But it prevents you from feeling like a failure. This is very, very important. That is what derails a lot of people...

Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/how-to-stop-procrastinating


Books Improving Attitude and Behavior from Amazon's Best Sellers list

"Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones"

by James Clear

In this book, James Clear presents a comprehensive guide to building good habits and breaking bad ones. The book includes practical advice and strategies for creating lasting behavior change, based on the latest research in psychology and neuroscience.

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"Unf*ck Your Brain: Using Science to Get Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs, and Triggers"

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"The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business"

by Charles Duhigg

In this book, Charles Duhigg explores the science of habit formation and how habits impact our lives, both personally and professionally. The book includes stories of individuals and organizations who have successfully changed their habits, as well as practical advice for creating lasting behavior change.

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"Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything"

by BJ Fogg

In this book, BJ Fogg presents a guide to creating lasting behavior change through small, incremental habits. The book includes practical advice and strategies for identifying and implementing tiny habits that can lead to big changes over time.

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"The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life"

by Robin Sharma

In this book, Robin Sharma presents a guide to maximizing your productivity and potential by starting your day early. The book includes practical advice and strategies for creating a morning routine that supports your goals and values, as well as inspiring stories of individuals who have transformed their lives through early rising.

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