The problem starts when you know what you need to do, but don't. The anxiety, shame and fear lie between the knowing and the doing. Nothing else happens in this phase except your suffering and aging, we can call this the Unproductive Phase.
At some point, often spurred by a crisis of some kind, you start to do the thing. Here's where the anxiety usually spikes — you are entering the Productive Phase, where failure, embarrassment, and the discovery of your own incompetence go from being future-dwelling specters to real-time dangers. That’s why procrastinators avoid ever getting to this part.
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It is to end the Counterproductive phase as soon as possible. This end is always a concrete, bodily action, often taken with some trepidation: opening up the word processor, dialing a phone number, or getting out a piece of paper so you can sketch up a plan.
When you halt your work on a given thing due to fear or aversion, you are re-entering the nonproductive phase. Physical action ceases, and pointless rumination begins. Anxiety will rise until you enter the Productive Phase again. This is a good reason not to switch tasks unnecessarily. Push one t...
A Serious Procrastinator might experience the overlapping fear from many sources and begin to see them as a single problem: I suck at life. This makes it harder for them to do any task with longer Unproductive Phases and increased anxiety with a daring crisis to force them to ac...
The anxiety from the Productive Phase, soon drown as you begin to realize that the task is pretty doable, is finite and consists of small, ordinary actions like Googling, reading, and sketching.
Your sense of capability swells and the fear recedes. This phase takes less and less willpower ...
The rising anxiety associated with a particular thing comes from a misapprehension of what it will actually be like to do the work.
The anxiety associated with the work is made of abstract, big-picture emotional concerns, about reputation, legacy, anxiety for the future, self-este...
The critical point is always where you enter the productive phase, and this is accomplished by starting alone. Finishing is only a matter of starting from where you are, as many times as you have to, until it’s done.
Most of the resistance and stress is piled up on the boundary be...
Many or most procrastinators are pessimists, habitually overestimating the difficulty of what they are avoiding. They think doing it is the hard part. But not doing it is much harder.
The odd task that turns out unexpectedly hard doesn’t change anything — the counterproductive pha...
Consider your "stuff" as individual happenings that are best treated individually. Ignore all the others while you target to get started on at least one of those To-Do tasks.
The distinction between stuff and things is important. Once you’re treating each obligation as separate from the w...
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