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Procrastination hack: '(10+2)*5'
Merlin Mann | Oct 11 2005
Following on the idea of the procrastination dash and Jeff’s progressive dash, I’ve been experimenting with a squirelly new system to pound through my procrastinated to-do list. Brace yourself, because it is a bit more byzantine than is Merlin 2005’s newly stripped-down habit. It’s called (10+2)*5, and today it will save your ass.
Who it’s for
What you’ll need
How it works
It’s called “(10+2)*5” and here’s why:
Important squirrely rules
What will happen
You’ll blaze through an hour’s worth of work/not work and will find yourself looking forward to both the breaking and working parts of the cycle. (Dang, how’s that for a change?)
The Now Habit
by Neil Fiore
Okay, you caught me. That’s the hack: you can and eventually will skip breaks.
In his (extremely wonderful) The Now Habit, Neil Fiore suggests a similar habit of “unscheduling,” where you only make obligations to the things that you enjoy and that are not the source of procrastination. John Perry suggests “Structured Procrastination,” where you only give high priority to “unimportant” tasks. Of course, this is taken to a hilarious extreme with Joshua Newman’s plan for scheduling just a few minutes of work per hour, and then focusing on the “more important” tasks like DVD re-arranging.
In all these cases—each of which will surely seem ludicrous to the “Why don’t you just go do your damned work?” crowd—the trick is to snap your mind out of the inert state that’s allowing procrastination to take over. You’re breaking down whatever resistance has made you not do what your brain knows needs to be done.
Your hacks for your problems
“(10+2)*5” can be adapted in any number of ways (change any of the three numerals to your liking), but remember: these goofy hacks only work because you’re a pathetic bastard like me whose mind can be tricked into work as easily as it can be lulled into torpor. Set your rules, follow your rules, and keep moving forward. Snap that procrastination by slipping your work through the back door.
Now go take a break. You’ve earned, you hard-working hacker, you.
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