I want to give you guys a tool today, that will enable you to beat procrastination.

We all know it, we get that time for ourselves or we can do the things we want to do. And before we know it. We've fallen down the rabbit hole of YouTube. We've spent the whole time replying to emails or we've suddenly found the urge to tidy up, garage.

This is procrastination.

This is our unfortunately innate ability to find unimportant things to do when there are more important things to be done.

But how do we beat that?


With this tool.

We beat it with preparation.

I got this tool from the book The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel.

If [negative thing], then [positive thing]

"If I begin to procrastinate. Then, I will do this."

Okay, so you need to kind of fill in the blanks.

For instance, "if I begin to procrastinate by checking my emails. Then, I will close the window". I don't mean the window in my house I mean, the window on my browser, or you could go one step further.

"If I check my emails, then I will stop, and I will close Chrome." etc

You need to be very very specific with it, and you have to understand what it is you do when you procrastinate when you need to get things done.

For me it's emails, emails just stop me from working so many times, you know I sit down there I'll just check my emails before I work, because you know, emails are apparently "work".

So I sit there and I end up wasting half an hour of my time replying to emails that are not important when I could be doing my more important work which is creating.

You might find that when you need to do work you might suddenly want to start tidying. So you then say, if I start tidying when I need to work, then I will step out of that room, and do something else.

You need to prepare for that eventuality - be specific about what you do when you procrastinate and be specific about what you will do to counter that.

For example:

"If I begin to tidy my study, I will sit down at my desk and turn my computer on"

Make sure you write these down, or at least repeat them almost like a mantra.

If This Then That

You will start to then notice when you're doing the procrastinating, you notice those times when you stop yourself from doing your more important work it. And awareness is KEY.

This one takes a while, but it is really really helpful.

One thing I found that prevented procrastination was making sure that my desk was completely clean, and that is why email for me is the biggest weakness because if there's nothing to distract me on my desk then I will find a way to distract myself on my computer.

It used to be Facebook. Thankfully, it's not.

Now, it's emails.

But honestly it is not a problem for me (much) because I gained awareness of my ifs and thens.

More examples that might help.

IF I find myself noodling on the internet, THEN turn off the Wi Fi.

IF I distract myself with YouTube, THEN I will turn off the Wi Fi.

Therefore, taking away the trigger.

Take your time with it, you will get there, but it's really important we have all the time in the world, but we fill it with stuff that's not entirely necessary.

So let's try and find one thing that we can beat.

Find your biggest weakness; TV, Facebook, YouTube, whatever it is, if I do that biggest weakness, then take action to stop yourself.

Good luck chaps.