Productivity and Procrastination

BrockaWork2 Comments

I seem to recall my father once telling me the entire human population has one thing in common: procrastination. Specifically, it is everyone’s worst fault.

Most business success comes down to who didn’t procrastinate. No one person has the monopoly on any idea or concept or product. So who makes it happen first?

And despite knowing the trials and tribulations or the valleys and hills it takes metaphorically crossing to get to our own ‘success’, we paradoxically view other’s success in broader strokes, as if their path were more linear.

Truthfully, we often only learn of someone after they’ve put in the hours, years, tears and time. And frankly that’s how it should be. All that being said:

The blogger of Wait But Why just gave a great TED Talk on procrastination.  It’s short and serves a punch. My thought: goals without deadlines are ethereal; and dreams can line up to become a list of lost opportunities and regrets.

Steve Dubner of Freakonomics fame and James Altucher of his own blog-podcast teamed up for the Question of the Day podcast. The most recent episode ask: How many projects should one person take on simultaneously?

This tows in line with procrastination, because when we take on too much or expect too much of ourselves, failure rate increases. I gage myself by the week’s output, not by the day. Some days have unavoidable interruptions even.

I do believe we have a finite amount of discipline in one day.

Conserve Your Willpower, It Runs Out via Wired

Strengthen Your Willpower Muscle via Entrepreneur

The Psychological Science of Self-Control via American Psychological Association

Supposing the above applies to you as well: Some of the best advice I got many many years ago, was the concept of ‘front-loading’. Front-load the workweek. Do the most at the beginning. Do the hardest task on your to-do list first. Try to get the most done in the earliest hours of the day. (if you’re a morning person) The beginning of any day absolutely sets the tone, whether it’s what you are eating for breakfast firing up your metabolism or making the first and hardest cold-call to a new client and feeling propelled from it.

I’m no slacker, but I’m not perfect; and I know some days are smoother sailing.

procrastination meme

Thank you for reading this, whenever you got around to it 🙂

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BrockaProductivity and Procrastination

2 Comments on “Productivity and Procrastination”

  1. Colin

    Great post, maybe I should delay commenting until tomorrow? Ha — but seriously I’ll do my best to listen to the Dubner podcast this weekend (will let you know if I succeed). Commitment devices are a good way of overcoming procrastination (especially if we commit money )- people are more prone to loss aversion, so the thought of losing $’s and face in place of say, not running when you say you will, is often a good commitment – especially if the commitment is made publicly!

    I also think it is worth preparing a list of things we often procrastinate on, we (huge generalisation) tend to procrastinate on things that are good for us: like saving more in our pension plan, quitting smoking, drinking alcohol less, paying down our credit card debt, exercising more, prepaying the mortgage, going on a diet, raising our insurance policy, signing up for saving plans and paying the bills on time, shopping around for cheaper phone deals, car insurance, etc, filing our expense accounts, submitting taxes. It is worth taking note on what ‘things’ we procrastinate most on – if they are work related – are we doing the right work? At the end of the day it is personal responsibility to do what you say you will do – and you do it because you feel better about yourself and your self-esteem grows.

    … this is so true “when we take on too much or expect too much of ourselves, failure rate increases.” Seth Godin has a great little book The Dip – he says the myth that winners never quit is wrong – winners quit all the time, they quit the bad stuff and focus their finite time and resources on the good stuff.

    1. Brocka

      Absolutely, money is a big motivator. It relates similarly to giving more credit to what cost more. Ivy League degrees vs trade school. Fitbit watches are also an example of a paid motivator and something we can see immediately, i.e. holding us accountable. Little kids get gold stars by their name in school, same difference.
      I could write a whole other post on self-sabotage, procrastinating on the bigger deals. Being held accountable is what money does for the sole adult, but in most ways it is the only thing we need to not procrastinate.
      You should know me enough by now to know Ive read all of Seth’s books 🙂 yep.
      Additionally, I particularly love the QoD podcast because they are about 15 minutes -short/sweet, and their banter as friends is so genuine. Good vibes regardless of depth.

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