First, give your friend $100. If you get the task done by 5 PM, you get your $100 back. If it doesn’t, you lose the $100.
Or make it $200 that the friend doesn’t keep — they donate it to some weird organizations, in your name.
Get the picture? That’s a commitment device.
MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE
At the top of your to-do list, put a couple of daunting, if not impossible, tasks that are vaguely important-sounding (but really aren’t) and seem to have deadlines (but really don’t).
Then, farther down the list, include some doable tasks that really matter.
A dash is simply a short burst of focused activity during which you force yourself to do nothing but work on the procrastinated item for a very short period of time—perhaps as little as just one minute.
The first thing is to take one minute and just write down the steps you need to do to finish the task - just a rough draft, at first, and that’s it.
Now there is nothing else to think about, and there is no way to screw this task up. Everything is laid out and you can just start working on it.
If you’re really going to be motivated, you need to feel something. Having a rational goal in mind or thinking you want something just isn’t enough.
What moves you? What inspires you? Try that.
Research shows we don’t use much willpower when something is a habit.
Build new habits by manipulating your environment so as to make what you should do easy and what you shouldn’t do hard. Remove the cookies from eyesight and put your running shoes next to the bed.
Productivity systems rarely take emotions into account. And feelings are a fundamental and unavoidable part of why humans do what they do.
We need to think to plan but we need to feel to act.
We accumulate so much unnecessary baggage throughout the years that we consistently need to eliminate: Ideas, Projects, Work, Objects and so forth. If you find yourself struggling to focus, try this strategy: Make your life so simple that it’s a breeze to live.