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How the Smartest People Procrastinate

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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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How the Smartest People Procrastinate

How the Smartest People Procrastinate

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

theatlantic.com

4

Key Ideas

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.

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.

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.

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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Procrastination is an emotion management problem

Happens when we feel uncomfortable (anxiety, overwhelm ) toward a task. We want to do it, but end up doing something else that feels better.  We run away from our negative thoughts and emoti...

The #1 skill to overcome procrastination

Facing a task, experiencing the uncomfortable emotions associated with it and doing the task despite those  emotions.

Our mind is a reason-giving machine

It rationalizes the shit out of anything that’s just a little bit uncomfortable and create excuses as to why we shouldn’t do something now. Those excuses are irrational, but sound superficially reasonable. 

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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.

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Feelings are summary judgments

Most of the time we don’t second guess them, and even if we do, they often end up overwhelming us. 

Negative feelings are very powerful and harder to question: we identify with them effo...

Misunderstanding resilience

Resilience is most times associated with being tough. But that’s not gonna get you very far with feelings. Don't try to be invulnerable. Aim for flexibility instead.

You cannot avoid or resist all pain in life. But you can learn to live with your discomfort better.

"Solving" emotions

We have trouble dealing with feelings because the usual problem-solving rules don't really apply to them.

When faced with a problem, we can always avoid it or deny it. But attempting to resist negative feelings won’t work. Any attempt at suppression only amplifies them. We must go from avoidance to acceptance.

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