Procrastination Flow Chart and the Secret to Overcoming Procrastination: It's Not About Willpower
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Procrastination
Kensington also suggests the simplification method.
"If you find yourself completely stuck doing something and you can't seem to get anywhere near it, [just] try to figure out what the next step is, down to the point where you could tell a nine-year-old: here's what you do. To make it really, really explicit, because a lot of the reason we don't do stuff is because we can't quite figure out what the next step is."
She also suggests forming new habits by "attaching it to something you already do. Something that you do a lot. Like if you always read a certain blog, and you look forward to doing it, put five minutes of doing something challenging right in front of that, consistently. Then, you get to reward yourself after with the blog."
Another technique: blocking out time. "If you just set out a 20 or 30 minute block of time where you're going to deal with, for example, anything to do with your finances, do it in there. You can pick and choose, and it all counts."
But she cautions that sticking to a time limit is key. "If we tell ourselves we're going to do something for a set number of minutes, and then we don't stick to that, then we basically lie to ourselves. Once we get started, we're often afraid to stop because we're so afraid we're never going to start again, and then it becomes an unpleasant experience ... which makes it even harder to start the next time. If we use a timer and we respect it, that thing that happens where you speed up and become more effective toward the deadline can happen. But that only happens if you respect the deadline that you've created for yourself."
Steel agrees. "You know you get motivation just before deadlines. If you could reverse engineer them and create deadlines of your making, artificial ones that have the same qualities as the real ones, they work even better."
However, he cautions, being honest with yourself is a key part of overcoming procrastination. "Sometimes it's not a problem with your goals, it's a problem with your temptations. The more available they are, the more obvious they are, the more you're gonna use them. [And] if you're insisting that you are somehow different than you are, of course you're going to run into problems. It's running into a brick wall and saying 'No, that brick wall shouldn't be there!' Stop pretending your nature's somehow different."