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A Proven Method for Overcoming Procrastination

What could you achieve if you could overcome procrastination? How many projects have died on the vine because you never started? Where might you be a year from now if you could defeat procrastination once and for all?

If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves. ~ Thomas Edison

What makes procrastination such a stubborn problem is that it bypasses the cure, i.e. taking action. It’s a vicious circle: you don’t do the work because you procrastinate; doing the work is how you overcome procrastination. What can you do? Well, we’ve tried most anti-procrastination methods out there and believe we’ve found a solution that works. Before we get there, here are some of the most popular methods out there.

  1. The Pomodoro Technique. Take a task and work at it for multiple 25 minute intervals, separated by short breaks. This is more a productivity method. Frankly, if you could successfully apply Pomodoro, you probably don’t have a problem with procrastination.
  2. Do the horrible task first. The idea is that once you have completed your most unpalatable task, your remaining tasks will be “plain sailing”, since you have a sense of achievement and momentum on your side. Again, if you could execute this solution, you wouldn’t be a procrastinator.
  3. The Unschedule (from Dr Neil Fiore’s book The Now Habit). This is more like it. The Unschedule uses clever reverse-psychology: take a weekly calendar and, instead of blocking out times for work, you block out time for the following:
    – commitments, e.g. family, sleep, eating, exercise, household, commuting etc;
    – 1 hour of free time each day; 
     1 day off each week;
    – all leisure time.
    You’ll be left with a weekly calendar with pockets of time for work. From here, you then fill the pockets with work completed. Here’s the rule: you can only add a block of completed work after you have worked on a task for 30 uninterrupted minutes. The Unschedule works because it prioritises guilt-free play and living then work. This removes the guilt and pressure associated with procrastination.

The proven anti-procrastination method we swear by

We like the Unschedule but we found what we believe is a more effective solution over at Lifehacker. It boils down to one simple idea: work for 15 minutes per day on your task. That’s not a typo. From their article:


The entire process is remarkably easy and you can get everything ready in about 15 to 30 minutes. We’ll go over each step in detail, but here’s the general outline:

  1. Figure out your goals. Start with no more than three, and add a fourth goal after three weeks if you can handle it.
  2. Set daily minimums for each goal. Things like “I will run one mile” or “I will put away 10 stray items” work better than setting a time limit.
  3. Set your boundaries and rules. Because this process expects you to workevery single day, you have to figure out what you’re going to do when…

Read the full post here: http://lifehacker.com/5886128/how-seinfelds-productivity-secret-fixed-my-procrastination-problem


We’ve made one important modification to this method: after 15 minutes stop working or, if you want to, carry on. That’s it. That one small change has seen 15 minute work sessions turn into 10 hour productivity marathons.

Try this method and let us know what you think. Also, feel free to share any anti-procrastination methods that work for you in the comments below.

Photo credit: micki. via Foter.com / CC BY-ND




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