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Four Things Procrastinators Need to Learn

Start one step at a time

Start one step at a time

The longer and dustier your to-do list gets, the more it seems like a hopeless tangle.

But it’s a mirage, created when you try to map out everything in your head without actually doing anything. The whole list looks different the moment you knock off one tough thing.

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Four Things Procrastinators Need to Learn

Four Things Procrastinators Need to Learn

https://www.raptitude.com/2018/04/four-things-procrastinators-need-to-learn/

raptitude.com

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Key Ideas

Confidence comes after you start, not before

Confidence is helpful, but comes after starting. To the procrastinator, a task feels dangerous - it’s when he could be exposed as a fraud. So before starting, he looks for more assurance that things will go well. This leads to more planning, more thinking, more delaying.

Start one step at a time

The longer and dustier your to-do list gets, the more it seems like a hopeless tangle.

But it’s a mirage, created when you try to map out everything in your head without actually doing anything. The whole list looks different the moment you knock off one tough thing.

Don’t just work on something. Finish it

If you just work on something you will feel a sense of progress without actually accomplishing anything. 

If you can’t answer the question “What are you trying to finish right now?” then you’re probably making the task bigger. 

Stalling feels safe, but it's the opposite

Procrastination involves thinking about doing, without much actual doing.

Beginning anything seems dangerous, but the real danger is delay. The most predictable, most damaging, and most easily avoidable dangers come from stalling. 

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Treat tasks individually

What seems like a tangled cloud of open-ended old to-dos is actually a series of independent happenings, which are best treated individually.

Once you’re treating each obligation as s...

The end of anxiety

The moment you start acting on something, you are at the beginning of the end of the anxiety associated with that thing.

Many procrastinators are pessimists and overestimate the difficulty of the task they are avoiding. They think doing it is the hard part. But not doing it is much harder.

Avoiding action
The moment you start avoiding action again, due to fear or aversion, you are re-entering a nonproductive phase. 

Physical action ceases, and pointless overthinking begins.

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To-Do Lists

Your to-do list can be a tool that guides you through your work, or it can be a big fat pillar of undone time bombs taunting you and your unproductive inadequacy.

If the instructions are c...

The two modes
At any point during the workday, you are in one of these modes:
  • When a project or task comes up, the steps you need to take start to form in your mind. Now you're in thinking/Boss mode. 
  • Your to-do list is a collection of those orders, which your Assistant personality will later pick up and do.
Write down the instructions in such a way that your Assistant self can just do them without having to think - or stress. 
Put Items That You're Definitely Doing

Instead of letting tasks you're not quite committed to loiter on your to-do list until you're sick of looking at them, move them off to a separate list, a holding area for Someday/Maybe items. 

Only concrete actions you're committed to completing should live on your to-do list.

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Precrastination

This is the compulsion to immediately work on new tasks, despite long-term costs and tradeoffs.

While the procrastinator delays important tasks too long, the precrastinator...

Precrastination

This is the compulsion to immediately work on new tasks, despite long-term costs and tradeoffs.

While the procrastinator delays important tasks too long, the precrastinator doesn’t delay unimportant tasks long enough.

What causes precrastination

The ultimate cause of precrastination is short-term, emotionally-driven decision-making.

Just like in procrastination, precrastination involves making a decision based on what feels good in the moment rather than what’s in our long-term best interest.

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