7 Jedi Mind Tricks for overcoming procrastination

by Peter Shallard

7 Jedi Mind tricks for overcoming Procrastination

Beating procrastination starts and ends with your thinking. Let’s lose the intro and just get on with it:

1. Give yourself a real incentive

Working towards your ultimate business/life goals is tough going sometimes. Give your latest project a deadline and give yourself a tangible reward for achieving it. Anything from a snack to an overseas holiday works. Be strict.

2. Put a deadline on your procrastination

You’re already procrastinating so why not enjoy it?! Give yourself thirty minutes of messing around and then commit to work.

3. Brainstorm your “reasons why”

Ask yourself “Why must I finish [insert-task] today?” and “What will it cost me if I don’t?”. Write it down and make sure you feel the answers.

4. Advertise your deadline

Most people are more psychologically driven away from losing face than they are driven towards getting stuff done. Share your deadline with someone you really respect. Don’t let them down.

5. Turn off the internet

Takes Jedi levels of discipline but really REALLY works. Enough said.

6. Take more breaks than usual

Most procrastination and distraction is caused by people attempting unrealistic levels of productivity. Experiment with taking a ten minute break every forty-five minutes. You’ll know it’s working if you find the breaks boring.

7. Stop in the most exciting part

When you’re done for the day but have more work for tomorrow, leave your project incomplete in a really exciting (and disjointed) place. This guarantees it’ll be fun and easy to dive right back in when you need to.

This article written in 14 minutes using techniques 2, 3, 4 and 5. Spelling and grammar errors for entertainment purposes only.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter Shallard February 17, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Last minute addition: I use number 7 a LOT when writing…. the best way is to leave (whatever it is) mid-sentence.

That way, when you come back to it, your brain transitions seamlessly back into focused “writing mode”.

All bloggers should try this.

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Samantha February 18, 2010 at 5:48 pm

This blog post is so damn obvisious but needed to be ‘reminded’ really badly. Perfect timing, thank you.

Especially like 3, Asking myself, what will it cost me if I don’t do this?’. When I remember to do this step, and really FEEL the answer/s, I am truly unstoppable.

Kindest Regards,

Sam

P.S. Am writing this up, poster stle, and going to stick it by my mirror and read it every morning.
Thanks again Peter.

Reply

Peter Shallard February 25, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Number three is definitely the most Jedi of all seven.

“feeling” it is essential.

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Diane Muir March 8, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I like this – and will be re-posting the link to my friends. But, ummm … dang!
1. Check – got it.
2. Check – I allow myself time to mess around before starting the day.
3. Interesting idea … this is helpful
4. Check – being accountable is necessary for me on important stuff.
5. Are you kidding me? I’ll die (ok, maybe not – but I might!). Ok, I’ll think about it.
6. This is where I play with the internet – it’s my brain release time when I’m tired of pouring out words. (see, I knew I could make it work) :)
7. Wow, I really like this – and it makes sense. It allows your mind to process on what is coming up while you’re away from it.

Ok, this is fun!

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Peter Shallard March 8, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Number 7 is a real kicker – if you can make a regular habit of it, it decreases your “getting started” time by about 80%.

It’s especially significant for artists, who should never, ever leave their project in a state of closure… unless they intend on never touching it again.

Reply

Deana May 22, 2013 at 11:25 am

First off I would like to say great blog! I had a quick question which
I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing. I have had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Thanks!

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Peter Shallard May 22, 2013 at 11:39 am

Hey Deana,

It’s important to differentiate between idea brainstorming and actually writing… they’re quite different and for me at least happen at different times. If I try to turn a blank page into a post, I get jammed up…. but when I keep notes on all the crazy ideas in my head then revisit them to start writing… it works!

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