How to Beat Procrastination - 30 November 2009


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This was an internal presentation by Trent Mankelow about how to beat procrastination.

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How to Beat Procrastination - 30 November 2009

  1. Trent Mankelow I was gonna do a talk on procrastination but I decided to put it off
  2. What is procrastination? Source:
  3. Procrastination – The act of postponing or delaying an action needlessly Source:
  4. What percentage of people procrastinate?
  5. What percentage of people procrastinate?
  6. What do you procrastinate over? <ul><li>Me: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chores e.g. Cleaning the shower </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thinking tasks e.g. Writing our newsletter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Big projects e.g account management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New projects e.g. hiring a board of directors </li></ul></ul>
  7. Why do we procrastinate? <ul><li>We are afraid of failure </li></ul><ul><li>We are afraid of being imperfect </li></ul><ul><li>We are overwhelmed </li></ul>
  8. Why should we care? What impact does procrastination have? <ul><li>Makes it difficult for others to get their job done </li></ul><ul><li>The quality of your work may suffer (especially if it’s done at the last minute) </li></ul><ul><li>You can miss deadlines </li></ul><ul><li>It can add to your stress levels (and your guilt levels), and affect your life outside work </li></ul>
  9. Is procrastination always bad? <ul><li>Sometimes procrastination = percolation </li></ul>
  10. Tips on Starting
  11. Sometimes starting is the hardest thing
  12. Ironically, “the act of starting reveals the real work you have to do” – The NOW Habit, p111
  13. How to start: Sprints
  14. How to start: Sprints <ul><li>Choose a task to be accomplished </li></ul><ul><li>Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer) </li></ul><ul><li>Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper </li></ul><ul><li>Take a short break (5 minutes is OK) </li></ul><ul><li>Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break </li></ul><ul><li>Check out </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  15. Spend five minutes thinking about the outcome
  16. Take a break first
  17. How to start: Brainstorming Source:
  18. Get a friend to help Source:
  19. As part of the brainstorm I make sure I have a concrete, next action to start with
  20. Use a pen and paper
  21. Start the day right
  22. Decide on a Most Important Task before you leave work each day
  23. Park on a downhill slope Source:
  24. Avoid e-mail for the first hour of every day. You heard me.
  25. Tips on Writing
  26. Do “shitty first drafts”
  27. <ul><li>Write </li></ul><ul><li>in </li></ul><ul><li>bulletpoints </li></ul>
  28. Consider only giving yourself a certain number of revisions
  29. Other random tips
  30. Say No Source:
  31. Plan play Source:
  32. “ We are more likely to work productively when we can anticipate pleasure and success” – The NOW Habit, page 75
  33. Celebrate success
  34. List your anxieties <ul><li>What is the worst that could happen? </li></ul><ul><li>What would I do if the worst really happened? </li></ul><ul><li>How would I lessen the pain and get on with as much happiness as possible if the worst did occur? </li></ul><ul><li>What alternatives would I have? </li></ul><ul><li>What can I do now to lessen the probability of this dreaded event occurring? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there anything I can do now to increase my chances of achieving my goal? </li></ul><ul><li>From The Now Habit, p 99 </li></ul>
  35. What other ideas do you have? How do you break through procrastination?