Six popular nonfiction writers on what they recommend to their readers to combat procrastination and how to reach their full potential. Let’s talk about the key ideas of the article.
We all procrastinate in one way or another. Procrastination has become a part of our lives, but it shouldn’t be at the center of everything. But all is not yet lost. Each of us can change and become better by getting rid of this state once and for all. Below you will learn the secrets of psychologists and experts on personal effectiveness.
Kelly McGonigal: Build Your Willpower
In his book “Willpower. How to develop and strengthen ”Kelly McGonigal writes that the will can be trained in the same way as you train muscles on a daily exercise or in a fitness club. If not trained, she will remain weak and you will not be able to overcome your procrastination.
How to train your willpower?
First, if you play sports, then you know that your muscles will not start growing if you eat the wrong way. It’s the same here. First things first, you should start eating quality food: protein-carbohydrate, low in fat and calories. Eat more vegetables, fruits, nuts, these are very healthy food for the brain.
The second step, Kelly advises to start doing exercises, which she herself calls “a challenge to your will.” They consist in the fact that you gradually give up the daily temptations. For example, you like to eat sweets but want to give up on them. As a workout, place sweets in the most prominent place, but don’t eat them. Train your willpower. The first time will be difficult, but after a short period of time you will notice that you no longer want sweet things, and these candies do not attract you at all. This means that your will has become stronger. Now you can move on to other more difficult exercises.
Daniel Goleman: Practice Meditation to Maintain Your Focus
In his popular book Focus, Daniel Goleman writes that meditation plays a critical role in developing focus and concentration. In the process of meditation, you concentrate as much as possible on your thoughts, paying attention only to them. At this moment, nothing distracts you: no notifications from a smartphone, no comments on social networks, no annoying questions from colleagues. You are getting stronger. Even if you don’t have time to fully meditate in a calm and quiet environment, you can develop your concentration at work. The next time you are doing some difficult task and you have an irresistible urge to check your mail or see new notifications on your smartphone, pull yourself up. By learning to control your impulses, over time you will become stronger and can pay even more attention to difficult projects, which will save you time and increase your productivity.
Daniel Levitin: Take time to refuel
Daniel Levitin, author of the popular book Organized Mind: Thinking in an Age of Information Overload, writes that sleep plays a very important role in ensuring high productivity and fighting procrastination.
It often happens that we work after work. We come home, have dinner and sit down to write a report, which we did not have time to finish in a day. We work all night, and in the morning we feel overwhelmed and unable to make a presentation of this very report to our superiors. This feeling is familiar to everyone. (Think of the nights spent writing a diploma or term paper). The author of the book encourages us to stop and give ourselves time to reboot. Sleep affects a very important role in the development and processing of information received during the day. It is no coincidence that Mendeleev was able to arrange the elements precisely in a dream, although before that he had been struggling for several years to solve the problem. The next time you come home and want to sit down again for your report, stop. Relax your mind and body, follow the advice of Daniel Goleman and meditate for at least half an hour.
Marie Kondo: Clean up your workplace and your mind will be in order
The author of the bestselling book “Magic Cleaning” invites you to seriously think about what surrounds us. The mess in the room, according to the author, leads to the mess in the head. This statement is especially true for those who work from home, i.e. remotely. Marie Kondo argues that workplace tidiness has a very powerful psychological effect and can significantly increase your productivity. This is true, if only because your attention is not distracted by various foreign objects on your desk or in your field of vision. Surround yourself with only the things you really need, as well as those that inspire you and encourage new ideas.
Cal Newport: Work a little but hard
In his book How to Become a Straight-A Student, Newport writes that people often spend a lot of time on low-priority tasks that get done quickly, rather than working intensively on complex projects. Small, but numerous tasks take not only time, but also concentration. Instead, Cal Newport advises working in small intervals but very intensely. Research has shown that we can only concentrate on something as much as possible for 50 minutes. Then you need to take a break, otherwise your performance will drop. During this time, the author advises to work on solving complex problems without being distracted by anything. Then, when you’re done, you can switch to doing small tasks, if you want to do it. (Or maybe you should outsource the execution of such tasks?).
Neil Fiore: Break a large task into small manageable units
The author of the super-popular anti-procrastination book, The Easy Way to Stop Procrastinating, tackles the issue of the fear of difficult tasks. The author says that in this case we are very demotivated by two factors:
How to get started? The fear of starting is the strongest and most intense.
How to get satisfaction from a task with a very long lead time? For example, you want to learn how to play the piano. But how to motivate yourself if this goal is too vague at the initial stage?
To overcome these two demotivating factors, Neil Fiore recommends breaking tasks into small, controlled steps. Let’s take the same piano. At the very beginning, the task seems too difficult. How to start it, how to approach it? To do this, break it into small sections. For example,
Come to the introductory lesson and meet the teacher. Look around.
Complete a simple basic lesson.
Do a more difficult exercise.
Although the example looks simplistic, we can see that at the end of each stage, we will receive a legitimate reward – one small skill. Follow this plan gradually and you will see that you have become a master.
Hard work is a skill like everyone else
Procrastination is a very natural state for us. Sometimes I really want to quit everything, lie on the sofa and turn on the TV. But now that you have that impulse, remember what you just learned. Lie on the sofa or overcome this impulse and do something useful? (For example, read a chapter from a book or its key ideas in our library?) Now you know what to do.
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