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Public Enemy #1
Procrastination, the Arch-Nemesis of Results
Happy Saturday my fellow Philos!
I’m going to share with you my findings and applications on:
Why procrastination is the real Public Enemy #1
My struggles with procrastination
How I’ve been able to slay this Hydra (3 headed-dragon)
I say Hydra because you cut one head off only to find that another one grows back 😂 meaning it’s an uphill battle that requires constant attention.
I’m also going to cover how detrimental procrastination is on your overall physical and mental health.
It’s important to understand this as many of us have spiraled out of control and are living in the quadrant of “unconscious incompetence” which means “you are unaware of the skills and lack proficiency”.
Procrastination is a sign of poor self-regulation. Research even compares it to alcohol and drug abuse.
Dead serious, and I’ve suffered from this plenty of times myself.
But don’t worry! There are many easy to apply models for developing and maintaining the necessary skills in becoming the Hercules (he who slayed the Hydra) of fighting procrastination.
Let’s begin 🤓
What the Science Says
A study published in the American Psychological Society journal, by Dianne Tice and Roy Baumeister discusses the detriments of procrastination to be:
Any of the above feeling close to home?
Don’t worry, it’s easily combat-able and we will discuss how in this letter.
Procrastinators reported lower stress and less illness than non-procrastinators early in the semester, but they reported higher stress and more illness late in the term, and overall they were sicker. Procrastinators also received lower grades on all assignments. Procrastination thus appears to be a self-defeating behavior pattern marked by short-term benefits and long-term costs. ~ American Psychological Society ~
Structural visualization of the procrastination–health model. The latent variables are enclosed in ellipses and the measured variables are enclosed in dotted ellipses.
My Experience With Public Enemy #1
Here’s how it typically plays out.
I have a big goal, project or task I need or want to tackle.
Maybe it’s a new idea, business opportunity, house duty or so on (insert your goal here and see if this feels familiar to you).
I get incredibly excited about what the projected and possible outcome could be so I’m eager to get started!
It’s off to the races but along the way complete and utter chaos begins to creep up.
Other opportunities would arise, things would go, other ideas and negative self-talk would consume me.
And then the thought of what needed to be done to achieve the desired results become overwhelming so I would just tell myself “it’s not a dead idea and I have plenty of time, let’s put it on the back burner and when I can get to it, I will”.
Welp, NEWSFLASH! the results always ended up the same. I never got anything done. And the cycle would just repeat itself.
Here’s a visual of what the slope of procrastination cycle looks like.
The point in which you begin to go downhill is due to lack of clarity which then leads to justifying you procrastinating or otherwise known as…distraction (thank you all mighty 🐿 🧠) and this is where the Hydra grows it’s head back and productivity ceases.
Like me, you’re likely super excited to get started on the task or goal then after a little time you get a notification, you open up another tab, you read the news, you check IG for the 138x and so on.
So What Can You Do About It?
Let’s start with the most simple of suggestions first:
Time-block 90 minutes of focused work on ONE task
Take a 5 minute break every 25 minutes during your 90 minute time bock (just be still, don’t go searching Facebook or IG, literally just go outside or do some push-ups).
Put your phone in your car while you are working on the task
Shut off ALL notifications on your computer
ONLY open tabs required for the task at hand
Philo fam, truly, these are the most simple of suggestions that can exponentially increase your productivity, focus, and results.
You got this, I know you do!
Ok now let’s get a bit more into the details and back to the science of what helps.
Willpower is bullshit. It just doesn’t work, otherwise you’d see every task to the end!
But you know what rarely fails? SYSTEMS!
And if they do fail, guess what?! You can adjust the model.
Many people can be intimidated by systems, routines, or frameworks because they desire freedom.
But these letters are all about systems and frameworks, so I know that’s not you 😉
Discipline Equals Freedom ~Jocko Willink~
And discipline requires a routine, a system, a fail proof framework!
Here is what the research has proven to be effective:
A healthy diet - “Let food be thy medicine” ~Hipocrates~
Working in intervals (time blocking)
Accountability systems (friends, coaches, post on social etc)
If you combine the above mentioned you all of a sudden have a support system in defeating procrastination.
It looks something like this
Of all the above mentioned - intrinsic motivation is the most important variable.
Unfortunately, I have not found a system that supports the development of internal motivation.
Motivation itself is a monetary resource. Meaning, that it is limited. It runs out. You will eventually be depleted.
However, there is a solution…and that solution is PURPOSE.
Simon Sinek has a wonderful book called Start with Why. I HIGHLY recommend it.
In a nutshell, if you start with why, then the “how” becomes irrelevant because you have purpose behind what you are doing.
For example: the why for me behind writing this letter for you every single week is to accelerate your potential by creating systems to help reduce mental suffering in your life & business.
How I get it done doesn’t even matter to me but actualizes itself through the process of DOING!
I’m constantly discovering new ways to improve because my why is clear.
I just do the thing that does and then this weekly letter is all of sudden done!
Now, of course, I’ve assess how to streamline the process which if you want to learn more about, I cover it in detail with Matt Gottesman in this workshop → Replay of Content Batching pt.1.
I’ll show you a little more about the workshop at the end, part 2. is on August 30th 🤓.
If you don’t know your why - then just make one up!
What’ll happen is you will soon discover if the passion is temporary or long-lasting.
Do not be discouraged! We are designed to trial and error.
Literally, this how we got to where we are today. By trialing, failing, assessing, trialing again, failing again and so on.
Freedom is a result of taking action and putting in the work. Procrastination will keep you stuck in a cycle of frustration and disappointment. Break free by implementing a system that supports your efforts. When you take consistent action towards your goals, freedom is waiting for you on the other side.
So what are you waiting for?
As always, I want to encourage you to make someones day just a little bit brighter 🌞
Maybe it’s a text, a call, or a letter on the counter before you leave.
You just never know how far these acts of kindness can go 🙏
I wish you a week of peace, prosperity and productivity.
BUT WAIT! There’s more!
**See below prompts, homework, what you missed and what’s coming up**
Thanks for reading The Philo Letter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
What is your why?
What is it that you’re procrastinating?
What was the most helpful suggestion?
Where can you apply the suggestions mentioned in this weeks letter?
Philo Homework Assignment
Take a notecard and pen (not pencil, make it permanent) and before you go to bed write 3 MVP’s (most valuable priorities) that you need or would like to get done the following day.
Time-block 90 minutes to get one or all the MVP’s completed.
Then celebrate yourself 🥳
What’s Coming Up
After this section check out the feedback on our recent free workshop under What You Missed - you can also catch the replay at the bottom 🤓
CONTENT BATCHING PT. 2 (LIVE) - Schedule + Distribute - August 3rd, 2022
If you want learn more before joining the Somatic Breathwork Session you can do that here.
Free Self-Transformation 8 Week Online Course - Sept 20th
Philosophical Fellowship: Architects of the Psyche. Join 👉 here👈 for updates.
What You Missed
Matt and I had a tremendous response on the previous free workshop we did around Content Batching.
Check out the feedback from some of the participants - (catch the replay at the bottom).