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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Solid tactics for understanding (and beating) procrastination

Overcoming Procrastination Through the Pull Method

Excellent, Neil Fiore-esque advice on unpacking why you’re procrastinating and rewiring the crummy thinking that supports it.

Advice such as “just buckle down and do it,” “get organized,” and “try harder” are based on a dysfunctional definition of procrastination. What they’re really saying is: “If you weren’t such a lazy bum you could do this. No fooling around. Life is dull and hard. There’s no time for fun. Work is a horrible thing to contemplate, but you have to do it anyway.” Most procrastination happens because through procrastinating we are temporarily able to relieve fears: fear of failure, fear of being imperfect, fear of impossible expectations. Most of these fears, in turn, are ultimately based in the idea that work and life are awful struggles which we must somehow get through and that this whole horrible process will somehow make us better people in the long run.

Raj's picture

I am a BIG procrastinator,...

I am a BIG procrastinator, and I don't think that it helps at all becuse then there are a ton of further things sitting on your head, causing more fear and the like.

I have, however, come up with a strategy that works (when I choose to implement it). People swear by lists. Now so do I, but those are usually packing lists so that when I am packing at the absolute last minute, there is some semblance of order and the important things don't let left behind.

"To do" lists, on the other hand, don't work for me, at least not the conventional kind. My strategy is to write a "To do" list on an index card (yes, I've been using them for years, before this index card PDA craze started), but leave the list blank. At the end of the day, I write down whatever I have done that day that has some sort of importance at all, whether it is work related or not, such as: went to the gym, did laundry, started article, etc. I can also then check them off at the end of the day because they are already done (!). I know this sounds silly, but feeling that you have accomplished SOMETHING in a day makes it easier to accomplish more the next day. And then you don't feel so bad about giving yourself rewards.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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