Translated from Portuguese to English - www.onlinedoctranslator.com
Overcoming Procrastination in the Age of the Big
Dr. Wessel Friedrich
All rights reserved
Procrastination, the enemy of us all
Our time is worth much more than our money.
IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM
CONSEQUENCES OF PROCRASTINATION
WHY DO WE PROCRASTINATE?
WHEN WE ARE NOT MOTIVATED
WHEN WE ARE AFRAID
WHEN WE DON'T FEEL CONFIDENT
WHEN WE DON'T LIKE WHAT WE DO
THE PROCRASTINATION LINE & CONTACT CYCLE
PRE CONTACT OR FEELING
START OF CONTACT
TERM X WITHOUT TERM
HOW TO STOP PROCRASTINATE
SHORT TERM PLAN
LONG TERM PLAN
WITH THE REWARD SYSTEM
You need to deprive yourself of this enjoyable activity at other times in your day.to
Remember that we are trying to make things as easy as possible forThethat your
body does not present so much natural refusal for the activityand.
You can only go to the beach when you budget for the trip.
WITH THE PUNISHMENT SYSTEM
Therefore, we need to make the consequences more immediate.
If I don't write 500 words of this survey today, I will have to write 1000
For every day I don't write the 500 word goal on this project, anduI will
go a day without consuming sugar in my food.
Find the root of the problem
Quality x Quantity
don't make comparisons
Make no plans to try to beat others, but yourself.
MORE ABOUT STOPPING PROCRASTINATION
KEEP A DAILY ROUTINE
ORGANIZE YOUR GOALS BY PRIORITY
FOLLOW THE ORDER IMPOSED
PERFORM ONE TASK AT A TIME
MOVE UNFINISHED TASKS TO THE NEXT LIST
FOLLOW THIS METHOD DAILY
USE VISUAL INCENTIVES
Visual Incentives are great triggers
Better view of progress made
PRODUCTIVITY AND HABIT
If we can complete several tasks in the time we have, we can nots
consider productive and generally more efficient in our work.
2 minute rule
“Since I'm ready and have everything I need, I better go.”
Follow your plans, not other people's plans
Less daily decisions = More productivity
Learn to value imperfect beginnings
Procrastination, the enemy of us all
Have you ever stopped to think about the importance of time? This element
that is part of our lives is basically what governs all aspects of how we live and
behave. Everything we do, plan, think ends up being limited to time. We are
constantly thinking about it, analyzing what we have done in the past and
dreaming about what we want to do in the future, regretting how much we have
lost and thinking about how much we still have.
Time is the only resource that is not renewable, the time we waste cannot be
recovered once lost, once wasted. You can earn more money, buy new goods,
create new things, go back to a place you visited. What we really can't do is
buy time. All we can do about it is spend it, sometimes wisely or not.
I don't know if they share the same feeling, but the idea of wasting time has
always scared me. For something that is so valuable to us, it's surprising how
much we can end up overlooking how limited it is. Time is a determining
factor when we talk about personality, after all, what you spend your time
doing determines your likes, who you are, what you like and don't like to do,
including your priorities.
What you don't do during your time is just as important. The time we neglect
doing nothing that we need to do also affects who we are and the direction of
our lives. What we decide to do or not do in the time we have now will
determine how we will have to spend our time in the future, and not having
control over how we can use it sounds like a bad idea to me.
We need time to earn money, to achieve our goals, to grow in our careers, to
see our family grow... For everything we need time, and often enough doses
of it. We cannot quote
almost nothing that is instantaneous, for everything there is a process, steps, waiting
We spend our lives basically trading our time for things we think are
important. Be they money, fun, work,etc. And we, in general, have a choice
about how we want to divide the time we have. Some decide to work more
because money comes first, others prefer to spend less time working because
they are satisfied with a simpler life and prefer to spend time on other things.
We can do what we want.
Something that has always fascinated me about time is the fact that we all
have the same amount of hours to use, regardless of who we are or our
personality, we all have 24 hours a day to decide what we want to do, unlike all
of us the other particularities and opportunities that make us unique, time is
stable for everyone.
Our time is worth much more than our money.
You can use your time to get money and basically anything else you
want, but nothing... absolutely nothing gives you the power to buy more
time. This automatically makes time a much more important and valuable
resource, and yet, we often make poor choices about how to use it.
Unlike money, it is not always about having more in quantity, but about
valuing how much time. Make the best use of it and have the confidence that
we spend our time making good choices. Everything in our lives comes down
Time is an investment tool. If you want something, you must invest your time
around what you want. When we meet someone who is successful, the first
thing we think about is how much work it took him to reach that level. When
we see a doctor, we immediately think of years and years
who were dedicated to getting a degree and specialization.
When we are a professional who does not invest any time in improving our
knowledge, most likely we will not be the best in our field. The most successful
professionals devoted a lot more time to perfecting their methods while we
were busying ourselves with trivial things. And when we're left behind, we
don't quite understand why it all happened.
On the contrary, when we understand our goals and are determined to reach
them, everything becomes easier, as we want to dedicate our time to this goal,
even though it is difficult and tiring, we know that all the effort is worth it.
Have you ever stopped to sit down and analyze your plans and
dreams? And how can you reach them? How are you using your time to get
to him? How long will you need to reach it? Or if just that dream is a thought
you never pursued even though you had all the tools available to begin
with? If you haven't stopped to ask yourself these questions yet, this might
be a good time to start.
The decisive difference between two people with the same idea, that is, what will
decide who will be successful or not, is time. Who is really going to use their days to
put the plan into practice. Those who take action and invest their time in something
will be much more successful than those who just leave it all down on paper.
In addition, we value much more what takes longer to achieve, in fact,
we do not see positively the achievements that came “too fast”, as if they didn't
deserve to be as prestigious as the ones it took us years to achieve. We
consider something that comes too quickly as “unstable”, which can be lost at
any time and we try to avoid them because we understand that everything is a
With such importance that time has in our lives, it is strange to realize how
common it is to put it aside and waste large amounts every day as if there is no
tomorrow, as if we were drinking from a bottomless well. Imagine living our
lives deciding to spend our time on things we know are harmful and putting off
all the time the things we really need to do.
We need to allocate our time in a better way, make better decisions, and
invest our days in better things for ourselves. Invest your time in building
something good for you in your work environment, college and endeavors for
you and the people around you, rather than spending it on things you
shouldn't be doing. The more we understand its importance, the more
experienced we become in using it to our advantage. Take control over it and
use it as a tool to fulfill your dreams.
IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM
"You can be late, but time isn't, and lost time never comes back." -́
We've all left to the last minute something that we should have started
days before or even months before. Yes you too. It's no use pretending it's not
you, after all, you're reading this book, and let's face it, that's a great sign.
Despite our best efforts, it seems that we as humans are simply immune to the
habit of starting our tasks early, even though we would probably have the
privilege of successfully completing everything we need, less stress and
It feels like we're always waiting for the right time to start something, and
that time is definitely not right now. After all, what would make you leave the
comfort of your home on a rainy day for that visit to the library? What would
make you stop watching silly videos on social media to start that stressful and
tedious college project? I answer... Nothing. Nothing else matters to us other
than the situation, I would even say easy, that we are in at the moment. Low
grades? We don't know what they are; Complaints from our supervisor at
work? We can deal with it another time! We prefer to submit to unnecessary
rushes like trying to complete downloads of several articles online as we
prepare to leave the house to be able to write in the car or bus, and if with a
little luck we can deliver that project on time,
Just a moment! That famous excuse that"work better under pressure" not
convincing here, after all, if this were our case, why then would you be reading this
book? We're talking here because you were able to take a small step, that of
admitting and acknowledging that something is wrong. Therefore,
don't go back now, can you really be more productive when subjected to high
levels of stress, running, sweating and headaches? Or maybe you're looking
for reasons to justify your actions?
I have every confidence that deep down you also know that you are
purposefully putting off your responsibilities, perhaps even evading them.
Not only that, perhaps if you are not satisfied with the distractions that can
naturally arise, you look for them yourself, as an excuse not to fulfill your
obligations. Tell me you haven't realized that leaving your smartphone on
the side of your study table is a bad idea...
Chances are that you, like millions of other people, prefer to leave everything
to the last minute. Yes, let's be honest, most of the time, you yourself decide to
distract yourself with the most trivial things, in an attempt to stick as much as
possible to a duty that you purely don't want to fulfill.
"It's not my fault!". Of course not, how can you expect you to follow a plan
initially prepared for everything to go well? Unforeseen things happen, other
problems arise, and it's your priority to give them your full attention.
Everything else can wait. You can write articles in a few hours, and that
presentation to the company's partners isn't that urgent, is it?
Let me guess, you always wait for Monday to start your diet, and use all your
efforts and tools to convince yourself that there is a valid logic in starting any
plan only on a Monday, as if everyone other days of the week were
inappropriate and automatically meant an error in the flow of your goals. Start
something at night then... Impossible! That's not how it should be, the night
good time to start anything, just rest.
I am sorry to inform the reader that Monday is just another day like any other,
an excuse that you have been using for years to postpone your nutritional re-
education. Not only that, a day corresponds to the time it takes the Earth to
make a complete turn on itself, it has nothing to do with your or my goals. How
many Mondays will you wait before you actually start working to fulfill your
dreams? It seems like the right Monday will never come, there will always be a
new week, there will always be overtime to organize the house, or to start
looking for a new job, you can always start writing your first book tomorrow.
The idea of starting work at now seems too daunting.
Alright, I understand that maybe some of us put off tasks
purposefully, and that maybe for these people it really is more productive to
work under pressure. Assuming that you were parachuted into this book, and
that deep down you weren't looking for solutions to this problem, I propose a
little challenge, actually an analysis. It's very simple, you just need to think
about your projects in the last few weeks at college, school, work or even more
personal plans, long and short term, from tidying your room to starting your
Ready? So come on. Are you always able to do everything you previously
planned for your research? Are your articles always acclaimed by the academic
board? Have you put off, however, achieved positive results in your new fitness
life? Did you manage to follow at least 70% of the goals you set for this year?
Did you get promoted or get a pay raise? Not? Okay, taking the initiative to
read this book is a great start, and you'll learn a lot here about the root of your
Your answers were yes? Well, if all these questions received a positive
reply, it means that somehow you managed to achieve good ones
results even in the rush. However, nothing is so good that it cannot be
improved. If you think you're only productive in the last moments of the
deadline, maybe you've never set out to try and do everything more calmly, so
you don't know any other reality. Have you tried doing these same activities in
advance? After all, if you can achieve the same results without the fatigue,
stress and often physical and mental fatigue that doing everything at the last
moment can bring you, why not at least give it a try?
If you are on the team "I admit”, we are on the right path. After all, we're all
looking for more efficient ways to solve problems, and recognizing that yours
are much more complex and longer than they should be purely on impulse
decisions is a start, and you can probably relate to the situations covered in
The first is that for many, the decision to ignore their own intuition and put
it off for later is always followed by regret. You know that you should have
started your research months ago and that leaving it to the last minute can
seriously affect the quality of your project. It is now too late to try to improve it
and there is no chance your advisor will give you more time. What to do in this
situation? Blaming your pet dog and swearing he destroyed your perfect job
that he would surely get a 10 and beg for more time to redo it or learn from the
situation and try to avoid it in the future?
Even with situations like this that seem to have come straight out of our worst
nightmares, the fear doesn't seem to be strong enough to make you study in advance.
Aware of the mistake, you insist on trying to convince yourself that you will give it time
and you will deliver everything without any major problems. Until everything went
After another Monday has passed, you regret not having started the diet the
week before, and having only visited the gym fifteen of the thirty days you paid
for. Better yet, how "failed" your diet on Tuesday or any
another day of the week, you obviously now have to wait until next
Monday, because again, you can't start anything mid-week. You regret it,
regret it, get frustrated, buy that favorite bowl of ice cream to make
yourself feel better, and do it again the following week.
From mourning, it moves to anger and guilt. You charge yourself for continuing to
delay your tasks even though you know the negative consequences, planning
everything again for the following week, without really understanding the root of the
problems. You cannot expect different results by acting the same way over and over
again. Without a deeper understanding of what makes us act this way, it will only
become frustrated again the following week.
But how to understand and get rid of this harmful habit? There are
several valid hypotheses about why we do this, something so complicated that
it resists most of our attempts to change, trapping us in a vicious cycle of guilt
and repeating mistakes. Some might try to argue that this is just the famous
laziness, but I believe that a sluggard would not want to repeatedly deal with
the large load of chores to be solved in a short time that the postponement will
cause. Unlike laziness, which represents apathy and that urge to do nothing, in
this case you actively decide to do something else, everything beyond what
you really should be doing. So let's consider laziness officially innocent for the
Another famous suspect that we can try to accuse is lack of planning, and
although it can also harm your plans and is essential to their success, perhaps
he is not the main responsible for your problems, after all, you can even plan
your outline with daily goals, the problem starts when you can't follow that
plan. So let's consider the lack of planning also innocent. But don't forget
about it, it will be an important part in some chapters.
Well, if that's the case, then who, or rather, what is responsible for all the
stress we are subjected to when we leave to start our studies the night before
an exam? Or the adrenaline rush we get when we choose to start packing our
bags for thirty days of travel a few hours before the flight? Who has never, in
that unique comfort that only our own bed can provide, decided to stay under
the covers on Friday night instead of being at the gym, even if that same gym
costs a hefty amount in our pockets at the end of the month? Why do we
continue to make decisions that we know are not ideal in the long run?
In the following chapters, we'll cover every aspect of the habit that's hurting
your business, plans, and projects. Discuss ways and tools to fight it effectively
and simply, without your body muttering no and returning to square one. Let's
begin to better understand the villain of your efficiency, so that, at the end of
this reading, you will be able to identify possible self-sabotage behaviors and
take back control of your daily life. I present to you, procrastination.
“My advice is never to leave for tomorrow what can be done today.
Procrastination is the thief of time”. - Charles Dickens
We always want more. Finding a single person who is completely
satisfied in all aspects that involve their life such as relationships, work, hobbies,
social life, studies, plans and personal care seems to be an impossible mission.
Even those who in our eyes apparently have everything they need still
accumulate goals, plans and dreams, and for the most extreme cases, the life
they lead today is completely different from what they would like to have.
Among the most varied possible reasons for this constant dissatisfaction with
our lives is what we will be working on in this book, procrastination, when
everything is within reach, but we are too busy leaving it for later.
There is little point in complaining about your current situation when no
decision is made to try to change it. The truth is just one, your grades won't
magically rise from a base five to ten, and the extra pounds won't disappear
overnight either. A large part of our dissatisfactions are consequences of the
actions we take, or even those we don't take.
Every day we are bombarded with options and small questions that can have a
big impact in the future. And it's not a very distant future! The simple habit of
starting your work a few hours before the end of the day puts you behind the
other employees who spend the workday being productive. When this
occasional act becomes a habit, it can
influence your career as a whole, making you a poor professional or student.
Nobody wants to be left behind do they? We are naturally competitive and we
can't avoid that “could be me” thought when we see our colleague win a
super promotion. Really, it could and should be you! But, you decided that
spending the entire day browsing social media was more important.
I'm not, however, implying that you must work overtime, or suck up to your
boss to get a raise. We are talking about basic obligations. Understand that,
you must spend working hours... Working! It's not a bonus or an extra, it's
doing what you're being paid to do at that time, or in the end you'll have to
spend your nights rushing to finish projects, instead of resting or enjoying a
nice dinner with friends.
Outside the desktop everything works basically the same. The longer you put
off that much-needed organization in your apartment, the more headache
you'll have when trying to clean a large number of rooms in one day. I know
you hate organizing the house, and as hard as you try to start, you can't help
putting it off until the last second, when there's nowhere to run. If that's your
case, don't worry, there's nothing strange about you, you just have to notice
the presence of a certain behavior, which is preventing you from starting your
tasks, even though you know how urgent it is.
Specifically, how can we describe this behavior? When did we start to
purposefully abdicate our responsibilities? The answer is a long, long time ago.
Human beings have been procrastinating for centuries. The conduct is so old
that ancient Greek philosophers such as Socrates and Aristotle decided on a
word to represent this action: Akrasia.
The word that sounds strange to our ears, to them, meant “The actor
to act against your better judgment”. Confused? Basically it's the act of doing
something, even when you're aware that it's not the best option. Or more
commonly in our case, choosing not to do something, even when we are aware
that we should do it for our own well-being. That's when you decide to go to the
movies, even though you could be starting your academic research, or when you
decide to watch another episode of your favorite TV series, even though you
know you need to answer important emails.
Showing Akrasia behavior means losing control, what philosophers call
“weakness of will”. The individual who presented this habit was called in
ancient Greece "Akrates", that is, they did not have "Kratos". Calm down, you
don't need to despair and abandon this reading due to the amount of new and
a little strange words. Just understand this concept: Akrates, a person who
doesn't have Kratos, is a person who has lost a battle with himself. But how
exactly can someone lose to himself?
The original concept of Akrasia is quite broad and refers to the act of deciding
to do something even though it is not the right choice, it can be applied to
numerous situations and is often linked to lack of self-control. When we
choose to buy the most expensive item of clothing even knowing that the
difference in quality to the cheapest option is minimal, our behavior can be
defined as Akrasia. In this case, the problem is not having a bad judgment of
what is right or wrong, you are fully aware of the difference in values and
quality of the products, and you understand that the best option would be to
buy the cheapest part. All planning is done in a harmonized way and you have
all the information you need to make the best decision. However, there is a
failure when executing what was planned, you end up paying more and don't
understand exactly what led you to this decision. So, you just lost a battle
against your impulse buy.
Did not understand? Pay attention to this example: There is no smoker who does not
know the harm of cigarettes. Everyone is aware of the health consequences that
years of smoking have. Many even advise others not to smoke, inform about the
dangers of addiction and try to prevent others from following
your steps. We know that there are several obstacles and difficulties that
accompany the decision to quit smoking, I need you to focus essentially on the main
concept of the situation, on the act of doing something that you know is not "good"
or ideal, of making decisions that can harm the our own long-term well-being, the
practice of ignoring everything we know and just following a spur of the moment.
Lack of control, remember?
Play precautions, consequences, and basically reason out the window
purposefully prioritizing choices that are technically harmful can seem like a
difficult concept to get used to. Do we think about how someone can sabotage
themselves? It just doesn't make sense, it's unexpected behavior. Some
philosophers even argue that in the end, if a person is unlikely to actively
decide to do something that harms himself, our instinct for self-protection
would be too strong.
But wait a minute! We know that these choices do happen, we practice
them daily. You could easily recall similar situations in your daily life, be it
academic, work or personal. So how is it possible that they don't exist? Are we
actually looking for reasons and justifications to disguise our own
irresponsibility and weak will? What would be the mechanism that explains
why we make wrong and silly decisions? Because it's something so out of line
that we should follow, obviously, we're not the first to find this concept
strange. There are several possible factors that can be discussed in trying to
look for solutions or justifications for Akrasia, such as the various motives and
mental triggers of reward and consequence that can turn us into an Akrates
person. But calm down,
CONSEQUENCES OF PROCRASTINATION
"Nothing is as tiring as the weight of an unfinished task." - William
We've all had problems with procrastination at some point in our lives. Some
more than others, true, but we've all put off as long as we could a task we just
didn't want to do, or maybe because we have too much on our minds, we don't
know where to start, what to prioritize, and we end up doing nothing. Other
times we look for distractions ourselves, only to argue later that we haven't had
the time and that our lives are so busy and busy that we can't handle it all at
We know that it is quite difficult to live a life with absolutely no procrastination
and that we will all eventually procrastinate. However, we are talking about
people who allow this behavior to become a daily habit, some even
procrastinate several tasks in the same day, so these decisions affect important
points in our careers. It's about that moment where we realized that we could
be a better writer if we stopped procrastinating, that we'd be a better teacher if
we prepared class material in advance, that we'd probably already be noticing a
six pack if we'd just started academy months ago.
Tired, we finally decided to do something about it.
If you've made it this far, it's because you probably understand that you
could be a better trader if you stopped procrastinating, maybe you'd get
that raise you so long for; Enough money to make that dream trip at the
end of the year, change cars, buy new books and maybe even
buy a new apartment. It all comes down to efficiency, and procrastination can
turn out to be a major enemy of your achievements. Perhaps, who knows, you
are just tired of the loads of stress and worry that procrastinating causes you.
Perhaps your body and especially your mind are asking for a break from the
rush. It is a mistake to think that procrastinating is not such a big problem, that
it does not significantly affect our health and well-being. You and I are well
aware that this is not true, and that putting off things can weigh on every
aspect of our lives.
Procrastinating can cause anxiety and fatigue problems in its greatest victims.
The exhaustion that doing everything in the short term causes can increase the
risk of health problems in susceptible people. You eat poorly, stop exercising,
you are always too busy to go to the doctor for a check up and due to stress
your immunity can drop a lot. You find yourself not getting through an entire
day without headaches and you don't understand what's going on.
Perhaps you are mistreating your own body without realizing it. All that
adrenaline can be the cause of your sleepless nights, leaving you physically
and mentally exhausted. This tiredness directly affects our mood and we may
end up taking out our frustrations on friends and family, damaging our
relationships. Who has never ended up being a little harsher with co-workers
after having spent the night trying to finish a report you've been aware of for
weeks? In the end your friends are not to blame, you are the one making
Procrastinators waste a lot of time. Maybe you never thought about it, but
putting off starting that vocational course for months and months makes you
waste an absurd amount of precious time. When you realize it, years have
passed and you haven't started any of the plans you had
planning for “in 2 months”. Who never made a thousand and one promises at the
beginning of the year, plans, goals that you swore you would reach, but ended up
putting off for months. Year after year you keep listing the same goals because
you can't really do anything you've planned.
Her self-esteem had also suffered from her habits. Perhaps you know this,
procrastinators can and most of the time are perfectionists and are very
demanding of themselves. In the end, it's hard to maintain our ego when we see
everyone around us taking advantage of all these incredible opportunities while
still stuck in the same place. We don't move forward in any aspect of our lives and
begin to think of ourselves as losers and wonder if maybe we're just incapable.
Low self-esteem can also affect your decisions. In the midst of the rush to
deliver that survey you conducted in two hours, your criteria and standards
drop sharply. Suddenly that eight you wanted so badly can easily turn into a
five, and you're okay with that possibility. Because you are under immense
pressure, you are more susceptible to making bad choices.
Lose money. Surely this phrase is enough to scare anyone. Procrastinating can
make you lose money. You pay your bills on the due day every month,
something unforeseen happens and you can't make that payment and now you
have to pay interest. Even though you already have the payment amount, you
defer as much as you can, as if you were waiting for the debt to magically
disappear. Procrastinating can also cost you that promotion you've wanted since
the moment you were hired. Not only will you lose the prestige and satisfaction
of moving up through the ranks, but that nice salary increase that would come
Have you identified with everything listed in this chapter? Don't give up
hope, stopping procrastinating is possible and doesn't mean you're lazy or
unable. It's just a habit, and every habit can be eliminated or transformed.
Obviously, it would be great if we could push a button in our heads and wake
up the next morning free from procrastination, but that probably won't
happen. For most procrastinators the process is slow, but small daily changes
can make a big difference. First, you need to understand why we
WHY DO WE PROCRASTINATE?
"What can be done at any time will not be done at a time
any". – Scottish Proverb
We now understand and can identify the root of our problem, we procrastinate.
We also found out what exactly procrastination is, and despite knowing that
understanding the concept is essential, there may still be some questions left, the
most essential being “why do we procrastinate”.
Now that a small step has been taken we need to understand what drives us to
act this way, as the concept of procrastination and Akrasia seems hard to digest,
why would we do all this to ourselves? Who would willingly make bad choices for
their professional and academic life? What would lead us to this behavior?
Many may believe it's just laziness, neglect and perhaps even a lack of a
sense of responsibility. It would be simple, I confess, if we could summarize
all our problems to laziness, the truth is much more complex and involves
the roots of human behavior about certain influences, our reactions, how
we feel, our fears and our fears. With a little help, we can begin to
understand our motives and why procrastination can hit so many of us.
WHEN WE ARE NOT MOTIVATED
Motivation. We need to be willing to act towards our goals, and motivation
is our main fuel for projects to leave the
paper. When we are excited about something like an event, occasion or goal,
everything will flow more easily. The expectation influences us to want to do
something about it now, because when we do something related to our goal we have
the false feeling that we are already living what we dreamed of. The problem is that
what we decide to do is often not relevant to the realization of the project itself, but
just something that makes us feel that way.
Who has never decided to lead a more active life and decided to go to the
nearest mall to buy appropriate clothing for physical exercise when we should, in
fact, sign up for the gym plan? Likewise, buying more fruits and vegetables gives
us the feeling that we are already eating better. All of these actions are the result
of our motivation, full steam ahead, encouraging us to act now.
After watching an amazing documentary about online business and
reading ten different articles on entrepreneurship we are immersed in stimuli
and energy to finally start our Start Up; after a very pleasant conversation with
successful friends we felt ready to make a comeback in our studies, raise our
averages, stand out from the crowd. We will be a benchmark for excellence in
whatever we do; it would really be a shame if our motivation ended...
Yes! Motivation ends... Fast. That adrenaline rush that gives us the impression
that we can achieve all our biggest dreams only if we put our mind and
dedication to our goals passes very quickly. We are soon bombarded with
reality, and it involves all the bureaucratic and difficult steps that literally
accompany anything we decide to do. The power has run out, and you are
now unmotivated and listless. Those subjects that made your heart flutter just
a few days ago are now boring and tiring, so you finally put them away in a
little conscious drawer...for later.
WHEN WE ARE AFRAID
Fear. Yes, this unique word can explain why we procrastinate. Well, at least
one of the possible answers accepted by people in the world
I complete. We are afraid! Fear of failure, fear of not being good enough.
Engaging in activities that are important terrify us, we don't know where to start,
how to end, we get stressed because we put great pressure on ourselves, we
suffer from anxiety, in anticipation.
Have you ever noticed how “easier” it is for us to resolve things that we don't
consider that important? We don't think much about them and calmly finish them
one by one, without major problems and headaches. Sometimes we don't even
realize that everything is already resolved, it seems too easy... Or maybe the fact that
we don't consider it so important makes us relax. Calm and more rational and
logical, we were able to finish everything much more easily.
When we place greater importance on certain activities, we are so afraid
of failing that we don't have the courage to start. The idea of failing at
something that is so important to us is much more intimidating than just not
starting, we stall. If you already have a history of failures in this activity... That's
where everything gets worse. You've downloaded several French tutorials and
tried to engage in a daily study habit several times, and failed. Now, you
remember the bad experience, and you practically convince yourself that you
won't make it this time either.
"Hey, if we're not going to make it... why try?"
We are afraid to protect ourselves. It serves to warn us of danger in time
for us to act to escape any situation that might hurt us. From the moment you
believe that an action will genuinely fail, your brain will do everything to
convince you not to do it to preserve your well-
be. We are not, at least most of us, masochists. We will never purposely
decide to do something that we know will not work, that it is wrong. Fear
prevents you from taking risks, when we can achieve nothing without leaving
our comfort zone.
WHEN WE DON'T FEEL CONFIDENT
Maybe for you it's not fear. You are not afraid of detours on the way and love
to take risks, love to venture out and try new things. However, clearly something
still prevents you from taking the first step towards your goals.
You don't believe you have the knowledge to resolve the situation.
While the fear of failure discussed in the previous topic refers to the final
product and its quality or effectiveness, here you don't even know where to
start. Or maybe, at least you convinced yourself not to. Here, it's not about
your book you dreamed of publishing as bad, hard to read, of lousy quality;
it's about you not knowing how and where to start.
When you don't have confidence in your skills, you tend to avoid
projects where you need to use them! Naturally, we don't like doing tasks that
we find difficult and uncomfortable, and much of our discomfort about a
project is related to having confidence that we know or don't actually do it.
The reason you delay starting your course completion project is the
insecurity of not being able to move. Sometimes you might even try
start, decide to finish at least the introduction; After writing fifteen different
versions of the first sentence you finally give up and decide to retire the
computer for the night, you don't think you're able to advance your own goals.
Admitting difficulty in some skill needed in your daily life means
recognizing that you can and should improve. You are aware that at one time or
another you will have no choice but to finally start your project to completion, and
that experiencing difficulties in developing it means having even more work to try
to acquire knowledge that you should already have.
to possess. More work? Writing a monograph by itself is a lot of work, and
knowing that we will need to apply even more time and dedication than expected
frustrates us. We then decided to deal with this problem later.
Please don't be scared, but maybe we need to mix a little science into our
debate. It's not a seven-headed beast, I promise. It's something called "Time
Inconsistency" and it could be one of the explanations for
all your questions. Time Inconsistency, in Portuguese “Temporal
Inconsistency” is one of the topics of study of behavioral psychology,
orbehaviorism, and is one of the possible culprits most frequently cited
by several authors as a reason for us to act against our judgment. It refers to
our tendency to value more immediate rewards compared to future rewards.
To understand this concept I need you to imagine two versions of yourself,
two personas. Come on, they will be who you are now and who you aspire to be,
that is, how you see yourself now and how you see yourself in a period of time.
Any and all plans you make for the future such as losing weight, writing a book,
improving your grades, being more organized, not accumulating debt, etc...
These are plans you make for your future version, the one you want to be . It
works as if you are making plans for yourself in the future, they are medium and
long term goals. When you plan anything it will take longer to be achieved.
Remember, you are making plans
for your future self, not for who you are now.
Temporal inconsistency shows that we can understand the value of our
actions much better when we think about our “future me”. Think of it this
way: We know that to have an average of eight at the end of the semester we
need to improve our academic life now, and that this decision is extremely
important to achieve the result we want. Likewise, we know that in order to
be able to publish a three hundred page book in six months, we need to start
writing it now, it is essential that we start, after all, a book cannot be written
in just a few hours. Did you keep up?
So far what you need to know is that the plans we make are for who we want
to be, not who we are now. That when we analyze our possibilities and options
thinking about this future version of ourselves, we are able to value much more
the actions we need to take to achieve our goals. Our "future self" understands
the value of long-term rewards and the work that must be devoted to achieving
everything we've planned, but our self now... No. Our "future self" can make as
many plans and goals as it can. want, for these goals to come true, there is only
one way... Our “present self” needs to act. And this is where everything gets
more complicated for us mere imperfect mortals.
We know that when making decisions, only ourselves, now, in the present
moment, can decide and act on something. All our “future self” can do is plan,
and unfortunately, it is extremely dependent on who we are now. The mental
trigger that complicates all of our power to make the right choice is this: We
only think about now.
The mechanism works like this, when you plan to lose ten pounds in three
months, you're actually planning to be ten pounds lighter in three months.
This person with ten pounds less is a version
However, when you decide not to take that chocolate cake your coworker
offered you, you are making a decision for yours now. In this way, it is easy to
understand that, although we want a certain result in the future, we need to
act now, and our “now me” doesn't want to worry about future plans.
But why does ours now want to boycott our plans so much?
Both versions know that improving your grades is important. The
difference is how we respond to short-term and long-term rewards. Ours now
loves immediate rewards, and doesn't have time to imagine or dream about
something that will take months to arrive. We are much more concerned with
being happy now, being comfortable now, tasting chocolate now, and that
outweighs any long-term rewards.
This difference in interest makes us live in combat with ourselves, and we
are forced to return to the self-control we referred to earlier. Your future wants
a better grade, but yours now wants to see that acclaimed Oscar-of-the-year
movie. Your future may even want to start your own business, but yours now
feels more comfortable using the free time on the weekend for that beer with
friends. Learning a new language will have to wait, yours now prefers to listen
to your favorite artist's new album. And woe to those who try to advise you to
turn the volume down, the album is your priority and everything else
automatically becomes something for later.
We understand that we prioritize immediate rewards and that they will
completely influence our daily decisions. But what about the consequences?
How will they affect our decisions? Nobody wants to be punished, right? The
line of reasoning for both is very similar. We are aware of the consequences of
our actions, and once again we prioritize short-term consequences over long-
We know that young adults and adults with diets low in nutrients and high in
saturated fats as well as a high intake of sugar can make us very sick in the
future, like diabetics and overweight. But
look carefully! We just mentioned the key word for why we
procrastinate our food change.
“It could make us quite sick... in the future”
This future doesn't interest us now, just like any other
long-term consequence. We all know how important it is to save that money
every month for a smoother, more comfortable retirement."For the love of
God! I'm only 25 years old!”Retiring is years away for many of us, so it's at the
bottom of our priority list. It is much easier for us, young people and adults, to
value more that trip to the same city that we have already visited ten times,
Temporal inconsistency is one of the reasons you give up on plans that you
were totally excited about hours before. Who never booked that party with
friends for the weekend, but ended up making up the most silly excuses to
cancel everything because all you could think about was staying under the
covers and sleeping? Resting in this case is much more attractive to you at the
moment than driving across town. At that moment you hate ballads; need to
save money anyway; he thinks he's even starting to get a bit of a headache. You
know you don't want to leave the house and you try to convince yourself that this
is the best decision, that it is the right decision.
WHEN WE DON'T LIKE WHAT WE DO
Have you ever tried to do something you don't like? Yeah, it's not one of the
easiest things to get used to. Inevitably we try to stay as far away from the
tedious tasks that give us more boredom than pleasure. If you're not afraid to
try new things, don't believe the problem is in your determination, or haven't
identified with the Temporal Inconsistency theory, you may lack to love what
Okay, I know it's hard to love going to the bank to resolve those
bureaucratic backlogs. We are not made of iron. I want you to think about
bigger goals, your career, your plans, dreams. Do they really represent your
Maybe you don't love that 150-page book that you've been trying to read for
six months; maybe you don't like exercising that much, maybe you're okay with
the extra pounds, maybe deep down you know you hate the whole process
involved in setting up your business.
We know it's impossible to like everything. There will always be things that
will make you shiver just thinking about it, it's part of being an adult and life
is not just about pleasurable things. We all just love paying bills, especially
when they're loaded with interest, don't we? Obviously not, but we need to
pay them the same way and we know their importance.
Part of being responsible is dealing with the tasks we don't like to do. After all,
if we could choose to work only on what we like, or pay only the bills we think
we owe, we would all live in chaos. All you need to learn is how to get over the
“I'm not in the mood” barrier and take action that solves problems. If you
believe there is no chance for change, that you are past the threshold of
salvation, and that you are destined to keep procrastinating, give yourself a
chance.Procrastinating is a habit and every habit can be changed or
eliminated, remember? You can learn to stop procrastinating.
THE PROCRASTINATION LINE & CYCLE OF
"If you postpone everything until you feel ready, you will never accomplish anything." -
Norman Vincent Peale
The contact cycle refers to the cycle we start when we start something and the
need we feel to finish it. For some people, it's calledGestalt Cycle or
experience cycle; Regardless of what you call it, this cycle could be described
as a picture of the process we should follow to successfully complete tasks,
and this is where we fail when we procrastinate.
This cycle has several steps that must be followed correctly and completed
for our process of exchanging experiences to take place. Although there are
several different interpretations and concepts of use, we will use in this book the
model used byJoseph Zinker, therapist highly responsible for the growth of
The contact cycle has four different phases and in each of these phases we act
differently. Successfully completing all phases would be ideal for us, for
example, not to procrastinate. Everything works like this:
PRE CONTACT OR FEELING
In the pre-contact phase we receive some external stimulus that makes us feel
something. It is a feeling or excitement about something that piques our
interest and captures our attention. We treat our own body here as
background, a blank board that receives a wave of impulses that allows us
noticing something makes us aware of some situation.
Although this concept may seem too vague to you, the
example possibilities for this phase are numerous to list.
Example of situations characterized by pre-contact:
When we notice the urgency of a situation;
When we get excited about a trip;
When we get excited to know that we're going to find someone who
we like it;
When our heart beats faster when we see someone we care about;
When we realize that an important date is coming.
This phase refers exclusively to our perception of an incitement caused by
something or someone, we are just reacting to something and not acting on something.
To make it even easier, this phase would be when you become aware of
work that needs to be done.
START OF CONTACT
The second phase is characterized in an active phase, where we decide to act to solve
something, or solve a situation that interested us. Pay attention to the fact that this
phase is not about solving the problems themselves, but about the process of deciding
to act on something and continuing the process that was started in the pre-contact
Continuing the examples given, this would be the situation of the cycle:
Decide to do something to resolve the situation;
Decide to buy tickets for the trip to happen;
Decide to meet this person; Decide to declare
yourself to whom you love; Decide to start the
project we must deliver.
It is at this stage that major failures occur. When we cannot move
forward with this phase, the things we started cannot be finished, they
remain open, like unfinished business. This situation bothers us a lot, most
of the time, it bothers us much more than the discomfort that working on
something we don't like can bring us.
At this stage, that would be how you decide to start working on the project you need
to carry out.
The third step in the cycle refers to the action itself, when we actually act so that
what we plan becomes reality. That's when we move, and come out of the static
state we were in. This phase is important because it connects you to what you
planned, or what piqued your interest. At this stage, all your attention is focused
on the action you are taking and there are no doubts or questions.
Still following the examples we are using, this would be the current
Seek to resolve the situation that left you afflicted;
Take the trip;
Find this person;
Complete the declaration for the loved one;
Start writing or researching the project.
This phase will not always be comfortable, after all, not always acting in favor of
something that we must accomplish is something extremely pleasurable. Nonetheless,
this phase of the cycle is much more satisfying than not being in it. It is very
common for people who procrastinate and stop in phase 2 of the cycle to feel
extremely uncomfortable and distressed. So, no matter how bad this phase may
seem to you, avoiding it will often turn out to be much worse.
Here, you would turn on your computer and begin the search.
In the Post contact phase, we complete the action we started. It is closing or
completing what you started, so that this exchange becomes an experience that will
be stored in your brain; something that would be added to a large library of moments
and achievements that even served as references for future cycles. And that's why it's
so important to go through the entire cycle, however difficult and complex it may
During this phase, there is a retraction. You stop acting and feel satisfied. You
closed a cycle and lived something you wanted or needed to live. At this stage,
there is no stress, just that sigh of relief that we give after managing to deliver
something on a tight deadline, or when we arrive at our house after sweating it
out at the gym; or that sense of hope you feel after signing our first contracts. It's
the best part of the cycle, because in feelings fulfilled and ready for more cycles,
more tasks, more adventures.
Carrying out these cycles is extremely important. Take a look, reader,
accumulating “incomplete” cycles in your gallery, that is, in your mind and
time, can have several consequences. Imagine those papers you need to sign
at work, every day about five different papers come to you.
Each of these papers have different themes, are about different things, and
have different due dates. You then read them all, but decide not to start
signing them because you know it's a tedious, long job and it just seems like
too exhausting a task for now. As there are only five documents, you can leave
it for later.
The problem is that as we know, every day you will receive new documents, with
new themes and new deadlines. Only after days of accumulating incomplete cycles do
you feel a certain urgency to resolve your pending issues and you are faced with a
snowball of projects that you have accumulated yourself. When you decide then to
finally start signing the papers, the fact that you have much more than the first five that
arrived is even more reason for you to get discouraged and not want to start. When
making that decision, the question is: where do I start?
The accumulation of so many things that demand your attention at the same time
makes the task of choosing or prioritizing the most important ones even more
difficult. Not only that, we know we have “unfinished” stuff and we can't relax.
When you procrastinate you know what you're doing, and not for a moment
forget the things you have to do. You are all the time aware of that task, thinking
about it, contemplating starting it, and for all the reasons we cite inwhy do we
procrastinate, you cannot transform this energy into actions.
Being worried isn't one of the best experiences, and that's how a procrastinator
lives, constantly thinking about the things he didn't do; in deadlines, dates, in the
shouting of the boss, maybe even in the dismissal if you fail in your basic tasks.
Busy with pending things, we are not open to new voluntary experiences. That's
when we tell friends we can't go to
the ballad because “we have something to finish” and we ended up spending the night
staring at the computer screen without typing a single letter.
TERM X WITHOUT TERM
"Procrastination is the killer of opportunity." - Victor Kiam
Procrastinating is an action. An habit. It is a consequence; a reaction; perhaps
even a defense we create to avoid something that is uncomfortable for us.
Whether out of fear of failure or because you hate that task that has to be done
yesterday, you look for any distraction to take your mind off the duty you're
running away from. As we discussed earlier, procrastinating is far from just
being lazy, and involves several different mechanisms in our brain like anxiety,
reward mechanisms, etc... With almost all of the definitions out of our way, it's
time to finally list tools and mental triggers that can help us start doing
everything we need and want right now, right now.
Putting things off for later is just a decision. However, for this chapter and the
following ones to be more didactic and light, from now on, we will deal with
procrastination in two different categories, they are:
The procrastination of goals that have a deadline The
procrastination of goals that have no deadline
These two categories are extremely important from now on, as they will
help us to classify our goals, and implement the most appropriate actions for
each situation. I know you must be exhausted by definitions by now, but
forgive me as I write down the concept of each of these categories and what
they mean in practice.
A task or to-do with a deadline, as the name implies, is a project that has a
specific delivery date, a due date. Do you need to deliver or
finish it on a certain day and time. This type of project is much more
common in our daily lives, we deal with it in our academic life, in our work,
and most of our daily tasks also have deadlines.
You have a specific date to defend your TCC; the college semester has an
end date and you need to turn in and complete your academic papers by then;
the test so hard that your whole class is scared to death to do it also has a date.
Even leaving academic life, we set deadlines for almost everything we do and
everything around us involuntarily or these dates are imposed on all of us. The
credit card bill arrives at our address on an exact date and also has an
expiration date. If we don't pay on time, we will be fined absurdly high interest
rates for late payment.
Basically, it is about everything that is not an option, but an obligation. You have to
make all your payments if you don't plan to have dinners in the light of
candles when you've canceled your energy, and I'm betting you're not
excited about the prospect of hearing a lecture from your boss about the report
you should have turned in two days ago, either. For this type of task we are
constantly being asked, whether by a real flesh-and-blood person or by the
Our projects without deadline can be defined as our wishes. These are the
things we intend to do, we want to, they are plans instead of defined
projects. Would they be that dream of traveling twice a year, or the goal of
increasing our grades, or the desire to start your own business, acquire a
property, move to another city. These are the things we want to do, but we
don't set any specific deadline for them.
These goals are as important to us as those that have a limited deadline, but
because we don't have a specific delivery date, we feel more freedom about
these projects, which gives us much more room to procrastinate. These
unscheduled activities are the ones that suffer most from our procrastination. In
fact, the ones that do the most disastrous damage to procrastinators. Why?
Well, if we didn't have a boss roaring in our ears, we would definitely feel more
relaxed to make our own
obligations only hours after the agreement, or maybe not even to do them. When
there are countless opportunities for “tomorrow”, procrastinators will take
advantage of them all.
It basically works as follows: These two types of activities are the same until a
certain moment, until they are separated in essential points. Both tasks are
important to us, they are our priorities and we know that we have to carry
them out, that completing them would give us great satisfaction. As natural
procrastinators, we postpone both kinds of tasks, and we suffer all the
consequences of that decision. Feelings frustrated, stressed, with high levels
of anxiety, and even most of the time we have available, it prevents us from
That's when, from then on everything changes. In our deadline task, the
weight of the delivery or completion date, at some point, will speak louder.
Remember that for this category we don't have a choice. Either you take your
TCC or you fail your final project and have to repeat the semester. This fear,
this despair, at this moment, when the deadline is two hours away, makes you
act. It's like your sense of self-preservation gives you a boost and screams in
your ears that you have to deliver... something. At least a draft. At least one
sloppy article and full of spelling errors, but you just can't decide not to deliver
this project, that's not one of the options, it doesn't exist.
This desperation combined with a rush of adrenaline running through your
body gives you the strength to somehow finish writing the minimum amount of
pages, perhaps making a hastily cover in a free image editing program, the
important thing is to deliver. It's finishing what you set out to do. This type of
task only gives you that one option.
The project without a deadline, however... gives you too many options. You don't feel
pressured to do them because there is no due date, there is no date, you don't have
to be accountable to anyone but yourself. If this task causes you discomfort in any
way or forces you out of your comfort zone, you can postpone it infinitely. The
problem gets even bigger because that way, years and years can pass and you didn't
do anything you wanted years ago. Years can pass and important phases of your life
will pass with them, without you having done anything you wanted to accomplish in
The dream trip you've been wanting to take to Africa since you're twenty-
five years old; The dream of kicking off that Startup that would save your
financial situation that you have been planning for more than five years; Take
your second degree in the course you've always loved; Maybe even buy a
property, or raise a family. Dreams that you can always put off until you just
You see, I'm not advising you to throw yourself into your wildest plans with
your face and courage, without any planning and just hope that somehow it
works out. We're talking about the fine line between not being genuinely
prepared for something, or using that excuse not to do what we should or
want, because it scares us.
These, after all, are the dreams that frustrate us the most, because we
feel that we have missed out on great opportunities and that it is now too late
to chase the loss. You now have a family and small children, and you can't be
away that long for your trip to Africa, much less have
time to take another degree, pay the bills is more important. That Startup that
seemed to be a brilliant idea no longer appears to be a good plan. Commerce has
changed, business has changed and thetiming no longer works.
Although both types of activities make us extremely
frustrated, the consequences for both are different in degree of severity in the
long run. While some can jeopardize your college semester, others can jeopardize
your entire life planning. Yes, that's right, your whole life. All plans for your future
ten years from now depend on what you do now. And procrastinating on these
plans seems like the perfect recipe for becoming your confused and frustrated
person ten years from now.
The procrastination of goals without a deadline makes us carry a much greater
load of guilt, because we know that the only ones responsible for not having
achieved something are ourselves. We have no one else to blame; we cannot
place the responsibility on our partners, or on our boss. The realization of these
objects depended solely on us, and this thought for many is simply frightening
because we don't want to be that person in years full of regrets. “Where did
they go every year?”; “Life goes by very quickly”.
As these two categories have different consequences, the methods used
for both will also be different. Also taking into account that fighting deadline
procrastinations is, if you can call it that, a little easier compared to deadline
procrastinations. These require a lot more energy and a lot more dedication
from those willing to start working on their goals and accomplishing them
now, not later.
HOW TO STOP PROCRASTINATE
“Procrastination is always the shadow of a doubt, our favorite form of self
sabotage". Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby
Enough of concepts, I promise. Let's stop procrastinating. In the following
topics we will initially cover three different methods that will help you to
considerably decrease your procrastinator habit.
In the first topic we will deal with PLANNING. This factor is of
Extremely important to ensure that you know exactly what you need to do in the
short and long term, this step avoids scares and surprises, that situation of
noticing a task 24 hours before the deadline. The second topic covered refers to
the famous REWARD system, and how they can be your best allies to be
productive. For this step, we will talk about how to “trick” our brain into feeling
like doing strenuous tasks that we would normally avoid in our day-to-day. In
the third topic of this chapter, we will deal with PUNISHMENT, and how it can
condition your behavior to stop procrastinating. Here we will teach our minds to
recognize that the consequence of procrastination has immediate rather than
Ready to start changing the habit of procrastinating and taking charge of
your projects and your life? Come on!
As the first topic discussed, planning plays a fundamental role in
everything we do. The first step in organizing your projects and
to do is decide the steps you need to complete in order to finish everything
calmly and with quality. Planning allows you to minimize the chances of errors
and unforeseen events, and what we are trying to do is prevent errors in our
If you don't have a calendar, stop everything you're doing and run to your
nearest convenience store. Youneed have a reasonably sized calendar at your
disposal. It's where you'll organize all your goals and objectives, with no
exceptions. As much as you have calendars on your smartphone, buy a
physical calendar to leave on your study desk or home office. If you don't like
to write by hand, it's worth looking for calendar apps for computers or
notebooks. Preferably some template that can be installed on your computer
wallpaper. That's right! The important thing is that the calendar is visible to you
at all times and easily accessible.
Now that you have your calendar at hand or on your computer, the next step
is to write down your tasks. Yes! It may seem like a silly step perhaps, but many
of us often lose track of how much work we really have to do when we don't
put it all down on paper. Take a few minutes out of your day to make a list of all
the to-dos, goals, and plans you have. At this stage, it doesn't matter if the
deadline is yesterday or if the project is due in two years, just write down
everything you want to accomplish, all the things you have to do.
With your list, which I imagine is huge at this point, you will now
categorize your plans! All the items you've listed now will be segregated
into three broad categories:
short term plans
medium term plans
Long-term plans (Or no-term plans)
huh? But haven't we already talked about deadlines? Exactly. Remember
when we said that deadlines, in a way, help to avoid procrastination, since as
we get closer to delivery, we get into a state of despair and act? Well, that
doesn't mean, of course, that I want you to live in stress and despair, one step
at a time. Initially, these categories help us get a better sense of when we have
to finish something and help us to be more organized. Using these categories,
we can see more clearly what we need to do and when we need to do it.
To make the classification clearer, the criteria you should use to organize
your plans are:
Short term plan = Those projects that will take less time to
be carried out. Ideally, these plans do not have a deadline longer
than 1 month. Here you will put plans like: Tidying up your
room; start going to the gym; organize your files
computer; unpack a trip;etc.
Medium term plan = In this category are projects that will take a
little longer to complete. put plans here
that do not exceed 3 months, such as: Losing 2kg; finalize an article of
search; complete 10 lessons of English or your preferred language;etc.
Long-Term Plan = You know that dream trip we've mentioned several
times in this book? It will be classified here. These are the projects that
will need more than 3 months to complete, such as: A trip; withdraw
your driver's license; finish your TCC;etc. This category will also include
plans without a deadline, those that you want to carry out but have not
yet chosen a specific date, such as the purchase of a new property, for
It's important to remember, however, that these are just a few examples,
and you should sort your own projects according to deadlines in whatever
way you see fit. After all, we all have different plans, with different deadlines
and different importances.
Now that your projects are properly classified, the next step is to turn them
into goals. Basically, you're going to break big projects into smaller pieces;
transform one big deadline into several smaller deadlines. This will help keep
your workflow much smoother and more organized.
If you still don't understand the concept of deadlines, here are some
examples for each of the types presented.
SHORT TERM PLAN
You have an important meeting with some customer representatives and
you need to present numbers of the business advances carried out by your
company, as well as give samples of the ideas you intend to implement in the
future. Your boss informed you of this meeting today, and it will take place
exactly three weeks from now, which makes it a short-term to-do.
Suppose you need to present proof of growth or development for six
different partner customers. This means that you need to put together a
presentation and collect data and information from these six customers for
the meeting that takes place in three weeks.
Like a good procrastinator, in another situation you would be comfortable with the
amount of time you have until the date of the meeting and leave to start collecting
paperwork in the week the meeting is scheduled. However, this time we will try
You know that you have very busy days at work and lighter days, where the
workload is less. Your goals will then be separated according to those days.
Like? In this case it's simple, you have six client paperwork and three weeks of
deadline. This means that each week, you will select two customers to be that
week's goals. Our situation will look something like this:
This way, instead of accumulating everything you need to do for just one day,
these tasks will be separated into different days, in smaller goals. Ideally, the
days you choose to carry out the work are those when you know you have
more time available, so that the workload does not get too big for the defined
All these dates will be added to your calendar which should be clearly visible,
remember? This way you will know exactly the days when you will have to collect the
paperwork. People who are used to dividing their projects into goals have noticed a great
improvement in the organization of their projects. This way there are no scares or rush in
the last hours. Days before the meeting, everything will be ready.
Once you are familiar with using the calendar and setting goals, they can
become more and more detailed and specific. These days of our example could
be broken even further, dividing the work into even more parts. It all depends
on your knowledge of your routine and the days you think are conducive to
making an advance on some of your projects.
LONG TERM PLAN
For a long-term situation, let's imagine you are dreaming of taking a trip to
Europe later this year. You've been working hard and you think you deserve
this reward. Not to mention that your friends or family
dream of traveling to Europe for a long time and it would be the great realization of a
Let's assume you have exactly 12 months of time for this trip. During this time
you will have to take care of all the procedures and documents that a trip
requires, and most likely they will not be resolved in three weeks as in the
previous example. In this case you will also set goals, but goals with longer
The first step is to make a list of all the steps you need to complete to get
this journey off the ground. You will need to budget, buy tickets, book hotels,
write itinerary or hire a travel agency, prepare passports, prepare financially,
Once the list is ready, you will set deadlines for the items. This step is essential,
as in projects like this one step usually leads to another. It would not be
possible, for example, to leave the budget calculation as the last goal, it is the
first thing that must be done and will be a decisive factor in the choice of
tickets, hotels and travel time.
Segregating a large and long-term project, into small tasks with shorter
deadlines, hardly any errors will occur during the process. And even if it does,
only that goal will be delayed, not the entire project. Think of this process as
trying to line up dominoes and being careful to leave a space for each group of
10 pieces, so that if any piece falls and knocks out the line of pieces, we have the
confidence that only 10 pieces will fall, not the entire row of dominoes.
This method can and should be applied to literally everything that surrounds your
life and plans. Your school projects, your TCC, your business planning, travel
planning, buying a property, moving to another city, buying a car of the year,
exchanging your cell phone for a more modern smartphone... Literally everything
can be transformed in goals, and these goals are
the guarantee that the line of your goals will not be overturned.
WITH THE REWARD SYSTEM
We already know that our brain prefers immediate rewards thanks to chapter 4.
We will always prioritize actions that give us pleasure now, compared to long-term
benefits, and our brain is something very difficult to change. It is in our nature to
try to preserve ourselves as much as possible and avoid problems. Understand
that no matter what you do, your brain will always try to convince you to watch the
tennis championship that's on air with your favorite athletes if the other option is
to answer emails.
What can we do then, to turn a disadvantage into an advantage and
“trick” our brain to accept doing what we don't like or even better, make our
brain want to do these tasks?
It's quite simple, from now on your actions won't go alone.
The train of thought works like this: You are not going to do just a bad
task... or just a task that gives you pleasure. Now they will go together, and
you will do them together. One will depend on the other.
This method is used to make your rewards more immediate and to let your
mind understand that if you do a boring task that you really don't want to do,
you will receive a reward right now, right now, not six months from now. The
process works like this: For every activity that you tend to procrastinate, you
should add an activity you like to do to it, andyou can only do the good
activity when you do the bad one. That is, every time you fight the urge to
If you procrastinate and complete a task, you will be immediately rewarded with
something that gives you pleasure.
It is imperative that the “pleasant” task depends on the completion of
your “unpleasant” task. Here, you are conditioning your brain to assimilate
activities that you previously thought were bad for any of the reasons given in
this book to a pleasurable activity.
You need to deprive yourself of this pleasant activity in
other moments in your daily life.
The point at stake is that we cannot give your mind the option of choosing between
an easier situation and a more difficult one, as we know that it will always choose
the first option. You should follow examples like these:
You should only do your nails when answering your emails;
You can only eat your favorite chocolate when you read 50 pages of the book;
You can only go golfing after preparing the meeting material;
You can only have a favorite glass of wine when preparing class
material for your students;
You can only watch your favorite TV series while organizing your
So, for example, don't spontaneously decide to go golfing in the middle of the
week. If you do, your brain will no longer make a connection to the activity we
wanted to connect, and when you have to choose between playing golf after
organizing documents and just playing golf, you will always choose to play golf
spontaneously, as we've already discussed.
Therefore, these activities can only be performed when connected to your
tasks. So, when a task is completed, that is, when the project
the one you were working on is delivered, you can go back to doing your
fun activities freely until a new project that needs your attention comes
It is also important to emphasize that the activities chosen for
following up on your projects is entirely your choice. The more important to you
the task connected with this method, the more effective it will be. It's what we
call"Accumulation of temptation". When the anticipation of watching that
football game is high, you'll be much more inclined to get to work. Why am I
saying this? Well, if you try on the other hand to “cheat” the method and connect
an activity that you might not even like to do with an obligation, you might not
feel like working and this method becomes flawed. Therefore, be willing to really
change, otherwise these methods will not be as effective.
You can use this feature for long term tasks too. The difference will be that
in these situations you will likely have more spaced out tasks that will take more
time overall to complete, but which won't necessarily take up a lot of time in
your daily life. Therefore, you should choose activities that you also don't do
often to avoid too long periods of restriction, which can harm your well-being
and cause you stress.
Still using the example of the trip we mentioned above,
let's imagine that it's been decided that during the first month of planning
you should start working on the travel budget, and in the second month
book the airline tickets. Suppose that in order to calculate the budget, you
will need to take time out of your days to list possible expenses at least
twice, to ensure that the budget is correct and realistic. This then means
that you will need to segregate this monthly task into two small tasks, two
different times to finalize the budget.
You will then need to choose an activity to link to budget calculation. In
this case, it is more appropriate for you to choose activities that you usually do
two or three times a month, remember? Going to the gym, for example, an
activity you perform daily would not be a good option for this connection, as it
would mean that giving up the gym would be a very big sacrifice to accomplish
the task and the reward we would have would not be worth it for " effort” to
make the calculations.
Remember that we're trying to make things as easy
as possible so your body doesn't have so much
natural refusal to activity.
In this example, you have noticed that the weather in your city is not so good,
which limits the number of occasions you can go to the beach. Realizing that in
the last few months you went to beaches or swimming pools two to three times a
month, this would then be a good option to link with the budget.
You can only go to the beach when you make the budget for the
By using this method, you will be uniting long-term pleasures (taking the
trip) with short-term pleasures (going to the beach). What "tricks" your brain
and makes you more willing to carry out activities that you would otherwise
avoid and end up procrastinating for months, until you realize that several
months have passed without any progress. It all comes down to receiving
immediate rewards and teaching ourselves that all activities, even those we
don't like, bring benefits.
WITH THE PUNISHMENT SYSTEM
We avoid the consequences as much as we chase the rewards. Therefore,
this also becomes a tool for us to use in the fight against procrastination.
Similar to the rewards, we also value and fear the short-term consequences
much more than the long-term ones. Missing the gym for just one day won't
leave you with more or less weight, all the muscles you've cultivated in months
at the gym won't disappear in just one
one day. So deciding to stay indoors on that rainy day seems to have no real
consequences, or at least it seems to have far too mild consequences compared
to the pleasure of being under the covers.
Therefore, we need to make the consequences more
Only when we give up something that we know we should do has an immediate
consequence will we start trying to avoid them at all costs. This means that after a
while, you'll understand that it's much better to get up off the couch and get to
work, as procrastinating won't be worth it anymore.
To apply this method to our tasks we will use a concept similar to
rewards. However, rather than linking our long-term rewards to short-term
rewards, we will link long-term consequences to short-term ones.
All you need to do is apply a consequence to your procrastination.
If I don't write 500 words of this survey today, I will
I will have to write 1000 tomorrow.
Right? Wrong! It is phrase sounds familiar? Exactly, That is
basically... procrastination is a classic consequence of it. When we
procrastinate on a project today, we will have twice as much work on that
same project tomorrow. So applying this method in this way would actually be
encouraging procrastination, feeding it. For punishments, we'll do things a
For this phase, you will have to connect the long-term consequence with a short-
term consequence. However, the short-term consequence should be different
from the consequence that would already occur with procrastination. Is
everything a little confused? See this example:
For every day I don't write the 500 word goal
In this project, I will spend a day without consuming sugar in the
Who in their right mind would rather deprive themselves of sugar for a whole
day than work for 20 minutes on an article? The consequence seems very high
for “crime”, doesn't it? And she has to be. We need to train our behavior and our
habits so that procrastination doesn't bring us pleasure. Remember, we
procrastinate, in part, because our brains are conditioned to choose the easiest
options. Soon,we need to make procrastination the hardest choice.
Another similar option is to link your activities to someone else's. If you
are trying to stop procrastinating with the help of a friend or
familiar, you can connect your tasks so that one will suffer the
consequence of the procrastination of the other. Obviously, we don't want other people to
have to suffer the consequences of our own actions, so we tend to do everything to prevent
situations like this from happening. Can you imagine being responsible for your best friend
not being able to play video games for a week? Or take the blame for your sister not being
able to watch your favorite series? Can you imagine then, not having the right to practice
that sport that you like so much because your friend did not fulfill his part of the agreement?
When placed on the scale, these actions will weigh much more and you will avoid them.
Regardless of the chosen strategy, it is necessary to change the way we
view procrastination. It can't be seen as a solution to your problems or the
perfect excuse to put off the things you don't want to do. You lose a lot more by
procrastinating than working on your goals, these will only bring you benefits
and achievements. We cannot wait forever for the right time to start
something, that time is now.
Without efforts and sacrifices nothing will change, you will not wake up one fine day
with the courage to do everything at once and even if that happened, soon there
would be more and more responsibilities because we are always looking for
something. We will always dream of something, we will always have a goal, and with
goals come the most bureaucratic and tiring tasks and tasks. It's all part of the
process and we need to learn to deal with it. Otherwise, we run the risk of becoming
eternally frustrated people who spend all their time procrastinating and complaining
about the habit.
Nobody will solve the problem for you and things won't change overnight.
However, by applying the methods of reward and punishment we can alone
change our habits and lead a lighter and more responsible life. At some point this
whole system will become a habit and you will find yourself applying it to new
projects without even realizing it.
You don't have to start with stride, it's not speed that matters.
Start by applying the reward to just one of your plans and see the results.
Start with small punishments, you don't have to give up all your pleasures to
become an organized person. Take small steps to go further.Small steps are
better than standing still.
"I've always said that people have unrealistic expectations." -Bette
In the same way that an accomplished goal can give you a surge of energy and
willingness, a failed project can break your self-esteem. We don't like to fail and
we get discouraged and frustrated when we can't finish something. In this
situation, we would be talking about that goal that you really, really want to
accomplish! Dreams, plans, plans a little more, procrastinates and ends up not
completing what he intended. Failed.
What many people don't know, or choose to ignore, is that often the reason
we're not achieving our dreams is because they're too unrealistic. These are
practically unattainable goals. We tried several times and we didn't leave the
place because the place we want to go to doesn't exist. That's why it's essential
that your goals are achievable, it's no use creating goals to avoid
procrastination if you've set them too difficult to solve. In the end, you may end
up blaming the method as a whole rather than noticing that the error was
elsewhere. Therefore, we need to learn to deal with unrealistic goals.
Find the root of the problem
If you are experiencing this hurdle, the first step is to try to find where the
problem is. Take a look at your short-, medium-, and long-term goals to find
the goal that stands out compared to the others. Do research and educate
yourself on the subjects needed so you can build better goals next time.
Be wary of goals that sound too good to be true. As we speak, there are no
quick fixes and fairy tales. You won't lose 20kg in a month, and targeting that
figure is just another self-sabotage. A visit to a nutritionist or a good research
on the subject would show you that a lower value would be the best option,
so... study your goals
and the issues that involve them, especially in larger projects such as
entrepreneurship, travel and business.
Quality x Quantity
Quality will always be worth more than quantity. This motto also serves for
procrastination and consequently for your goals. Carefully choose the jobs you
want to start andtry not to accumulate things in your head and on your
desk. Wait for the completion of a project that has already started before
venturing into new challenges.
The more simultaneous jobs you have, the more difficult it will be to organize them
and decide which ones to give more priority to. Try not to run over your goals and try
to solve everything at once, this can end up messing up your schedule even more,
creating a snowball of to-do items that you don't know where to start trying to
If you have a lot of short-term chores, prioritize those that will have more
serious consequences, especially those involving your academic life, finances,
children, and work. Leaving projects that are not that important and that fall
more into the category of wanting than a duty is not procrastination, it is
organization. Be careful, however, not to use these criteria to cheat your
planning. That's why it's important to pay double attention when organizing your
tasks and separating them into goals.
don't make comparisons
Your co-worker got several bonuses at the company in one year and you got
nothing. Soon, you start accumulating tasks thinking that you will be able to keep
up with the same pace and fail... The rest of the story we already know.
Organization is all about knowing your limits and knowing your own habits. As we
discussed, we always know when we are procrastinating, recognize this habit, and
understand that there is a problem. Do the same for your limits.
It may be that someone can manage family, personal life, work, care
and more at the same time. It seems so incredible that you don't know if you
believe it's reality and that there are people who don't curl up and suffer from
procrastination like you. Guilt hits and you feel inferior and less capable.
Please reader, don't compare yourself. We all have different realities and
measuring them all with our own ruler is never a good idea.
Don't make plans to try to beat others, but
Quitting procrastinating isn't a competition with your neighbor or classmate,
it's a struggle to try and improve yourself. Comparisons are silly and are
incentives for you to make more plans than you can keep. Rather than basing
your plans on other people, compare them to your past results.
If before you used to finish your work on the way to
college, try to have them ready initially the day before delivery. As you can
easily accomplish the feat, try to have everything ready 3 or 4 days in advance.
Compare yourself only to yourself and your results only to your own results, see
a progress, an improvement. It's not because someone lost 10kg in 30 days that
you should set these same goals. Our bodies are different and can react to the
same stimulus differently. In
your last try, you managed to lose 1kg in a month... this time, try to lose 2kg.
Always build your goals so that you become a better version of yourself, not
If you want to be inspired by someone, look for people with realities similar to
yours. People who have similar goals to yours. How about looking for someone
who also wants to start a Start Up; or get a gym partner; someone who is also
studying French. The important thing is that your improvement is always the goal,
and not other people.
Unrealistic goals are a bomb ready to explode. It's us setting goals too big
and too risky for ourselves, almost as if we wanted to fail on purpose. Increase
your chances of success by setting not “easy” goals, but realistic plans that
make for progress, not a mile-long leap. Stability and Longevity will be your
best friends in the long run. Create a routine that you know you can follow and
strive to make it work,be willing to start even by taking small steps to do
MORE ABOUT STOPPING PROCRASTINATION
“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is
right choice, the second best thing is the wrong choice, and the worst thing that
you can do is do nothing." – Theodore Roosevelt
During your fight against procrastination it is important to be consistent.
Creating a habit that you can maintain for a long period of time is the best
option to not feel trying and end up going back to square one. Perhaps the
steps shown so far are not enough for you to overcome procrastination once
and for all, as each of us has different routines and different limits. With that in
mind, there are a few other methods you can use in conjunction with the goals
and reward and punishment systems to give the process a little more power.
KEEP A DAILY ROUTINE
Some of the reasons why we end up failing in our attempt to change is that
we often give more priority to our goals than the system we've developed
to achieve them. Setting goals is just one of the
steps so that we can work little by little instead of accumulating content,
one of the most important factors is whether our work system is effective
for our routine.
One of the main flaws is that we are not able to correctly prioritize the
most urgent tasks. When we are working on small projects and lead a quieter
life, we don't have so much urgency and can work on all the goals over time.
However, when we have a
a busy life and a greater amount of deadlines to meet, we can get lost with
so many different goals and deadlines.
One of the solutions to this problem is to understand the difficulty of each goal,
as well as the time it will likely take to complete. Example: Writing 10 pages of
TCC and writing 10 pages of content to post to a particular blog does not have
the same level of difficulty. Therefore, placing these goals evenly on our
calendars just considering the number of pages and not the complexity of the
task can become a trap. In this case, ideally, you should consciously separate
the goals and analyze the tasks qualitatively rather than quantitatively.
Furthermore, some ready-made systems that we can apply in our daily
lives that will facilitate our organization. As roadmaps we can follow to
ensure the effectiveness of our goal system. One of the simplest and most
used systems is called "The Ivy Lee Method” or in Portuguese “The Ivy Lee
Method”. This method has five different steps:
ORGANIZE YOUR GOALS BY PRIORITY
We've already learned to separate our goals into smaller goals, and we've
also talked about prioritizing projects that are more complex, tighter and
more important. Well then, we need to use the same methods for goals.
The problem is, after separating all your goals you realize that you ended up
with about 10 daily goals in a certain period of time. Although you have already
applied a certain priority to your projects, as well as to the bigger plans, having
too many goals can cause problems in the time cycle we talked about earlier.
Even though the goals are smaller, goals can still accumulate and disrupt the
flow of the system, you don't know where to start and we know that when that
happens, we will probably do nothing.
So, to make sure that doesn't happen, the night before, organize your list
of goals for the next day in order of priority.
FOLLOW THE ORDER IMPOSED
Some goals may seem easier than others, and you may be tempted to
tackle the simplest ones first, even if they don't have priority and are so
urgent. Therefore, you must follow last night's list strictly.
Accumulating the “hardest” tasks for later can cause anxiety and stress, as
even after you've worked hard on the simplest goals you'll still find yourself
with a large number of goals that are even bigger than the ones you've
already made. Follow the priority list and start with the most urgent goal, not
the easiest one.
PERFORM ONE TASK AT A TIME
We know that unfinished tasks get in the way of our contact cycle because we
can't let go of those goals that still need to be completed. Don't start a new goal
until you've finished the one you've already started, take your full concentration
and time to finish one at a time and cross them out of your notes.
Not only will this prevent a lot of unfinished goals from piling up, you'll
also feel better and calmer once you see that you're done with what needs
to be done. Remember that often the stress of having “open” goals is far
worse than the possible complexity of the work you are doing.
MOVE UNFINISHED TASKS TO THE
If you've followed all the steps correctly but simply lacked hours to complete
everything you needed, move the tasks you couldn't start to the first priority
for the next day. That way you don't run the risk of continuing to put off that
same task every day and never do it.
Make an effort, however, to follow the system and get everything you set out
to do. Remember that the goal of creating goals is not to accumulate work,
and if you're not getting through for several days in a row, you probably
made a mistake while setting your goals. In this case, you may need to re-
evaluate your projects inchapter 7.
FOLLOW THIS METHOD DAILY
Most likely you will have smaller and larger daily goals. IT'S
It is important that you strive to follow the system on a daily basis in order not to
break the workflow. Just a day without working can generate a very large
accumulation of content to be completed.
We already know that one of the reasons we procrastinate is the difficulty
of getting started, which is often triggered by the amount of work we have to do
and that our entire system is based on breaking larger projects into smaller
pieces. Therefore, it is important that you keep dedicated daily so as not to
accumulate tasks. It's much easier and more efficient to work a little bit every
day than to spend 48 hours working non-stop.
USE VISUAL INCENTIVES
Remember when we talked about the importance of having a calendar in
view at all times? Well, let's explain a little more about the importance of having
visual incentives everywhere.
Some of us are extremely visual, we enjoy watching TV more than listening to
the radio or a podcast because more than one sense is involved. Following the
same line of thinking, having visual incentives that help maintain focus may be
more efficient than just having a warning on the cell phone, for example.
Visual Incentives are great triggers
We often like to delude ourselves about the actual amount of
work we need to do. When we want to procrastinate, we look for
justifications that validate our decisions. We repeat to ourselves that
"It's not that much, I can do it another time", but with visual incentives like a
calendar that is constantly in your sight, you'll have a better sense of the
amount of tasks you need to do, as well as being a great tool for organizing the
It's not about purposely causing anxiety, after all, by now we've made our
to-do list and broken it down into small goals. Therefore, performing these
tasks is important to the progress of the entire project, and keeping visible
notes that remind you exactly what needs to be done can be a big help.
Better view of progress made
When we're dealing with a larger workload we can easily get confused
and not have a real sense of how far we've progressed, however, successfully
completed tasks provide us with satisfaction and relief for
we have finalized our goals. So, being in control of how much work we
complete is just as important as being in control of the work we need to
When we notice the progress of our work and the efficiency of the system we
implant in the feelings more motivated to continue the routine and complete
even more goals. This step is also important for us to be able to point
failures in our routine and adapting our strategy until we find one that
works best for our workload and projects, especially when we are
dealing with greater demand.
In addition to keeping track of your goals and progress, visual incentives are
great tools to boost our motivation. Build an inspirational mural that is directly
related to your goals. For example: The photo of a pair of jeans that fit you
perfectly in the past and no longer serves you to encourage your nutritional re-
education; A photo of a nice apartment to encourage you to save more money
and study more about finance and how to achieve financial independence; A
photo of a graduation gown to motivate you to study more for your exams,etc.
Keep visual incentives in strategic places, where you spend the most time
working or places where the incentive will be in plain view such as your computer
screen, smartphone, or a wall beside your desk. Renew your incentives as soon
as you finalize goals and new ones appear or create two sections on the wall:
completed and In progress. Visualizing the progress you've made and the other
goals you've accomplished will give you the encouragement you need to stay
productive and not fall back into your procrastinating habits.
Proving the efficiency of the method, many highly successful people use
visual incentives in their daily lives so as not to break the imposed system and
continue to be productive. You may feel more motivated to give it a try when
you hear the stories of Jerry Seinfeld and Trent Dyrsmid.
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