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How the Smartest People Procrastinate

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/07/procrastinate-better/492407/

theatlantic.com

How the Smartest People Procrastinate
Ask yourself, is all that wasted time really rewarding? And other tips from Charles Duhigg, who wrote the book on productivity. Why is it that the more work I have to do, the more the internet beckons me into its endless maw of distraction?

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About Procrastination

About Procrastination

Everybody procrastinates, but it depends on the type of procrastination: harmless or harmful.

If we procrastinate doing a useful or informative activity that we find refreshing, or if we take a short break to recharge ourselves, then that is not a form of negative procrastination.

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Making Decisions

Making Decisions

People take a break or procrastinate because they don't want to decide anything and let their brains drift away wherever it is comfortable, enjoyable and easy.

If someone is tired, the mind naturally moves away from what we perceive as work.

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Simplified Habit Reversal Therapy

Simplified Habit Reversal Therapy

It is a way to be aware of what is sucking you into habits that are not rewarding to you.

Example: Facebook is designed to be easy to check, and one can find interesting things in it quickly, leading to procrastination and time-wasting to someone who is not aware.

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Motivate Yourself

Motivate Yourself

To beat procrastination, we have to motivate ourselves by understanding that the work that is to be done has a real positive effect on our life.

It also helps to be aware and to time yourself in your procrastination duration, checking if you extend your breaks or are punctual.

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The Things That Matter Most

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Don’t be vague. Specify what you need to get done - research shows that having concrete goals is correlated with huge increases in confidence and feelings of control.

Use Your “Magic Hours” Wisely

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Helpful procrastination

Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something.

From the outside, postponing your work can seem like a big waste of time. However, procrastination can help you do your wor...

Meaningful work

Doing creative and deep work requires you to let go. Procrastination allows one to get rid of the thoughts that are still occupying your mind. It helps you to loosen up.

Letting go

When you have been able to delay your work, your thoughts are empty and you are better able to work with challenging ideas. The work that follows is highly productive.

Why we procrastinate

Procrastination is more about our emotions than our tendencies for laziness or just being “bad at deadlines”. At its core, we procrastinate to keep ourselves happy in the moment.

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How to overcome your procrastination habit

We have two ways of dealing with our procrastination:

  1. Make whatever we’re procrastinating on feel less uncomfortable, and
  2. Convince our present selves into caring about our future selves.

Make getting started ridiculously easy

Often starting a task is the biggest hurdle. Research shows that progress—no matter how small—can be a huge motivator to help us keep going.

Set the timer for just 5 or 10 minutes. While the timer’s running, you don’t have to work, but you can’t do anything else. You have to sit with your work, even if you don’t get started.