031: How to Beat Procrastination, Part 2



This week we continue our quest for strategies to beat procrastination with three more:

  • rest
  • schedule leisure first
  • accountability




00:00 Hello and welcome to Process, a podcast by Effective Remote Work. My name is Justin DiRose and today is part two of how to beat procrastination. Before we dive into today’s episode, be sure to check out our Patreon campaign at effectiveremotework.com/patreon.

00:13 To continue the conversation from last week, procrastination is a challenging thing to beat. We discussed last week three strategies: to decide and go, to utilize time, and to get clarity to beat procrastination. That’s not everything that we can do to overcome a problem that many of us deal with and sometimes on a regular basis. To continue that conversation this week I want to talk a little bit more about my situation.

01:05 So as I mentioned, my wife and I had a lot of changes happen over about four months and they were literally one after the other and I frankly got tired. I was worn out not only physically but emotionally and mentally from it as well because there were so many things going on and so many changes. I mean when you, when you move into a house and you leave a house that you’ve lived in for a number of years prior to that, that’s a pretty emotionally draining time. Not to mention physically draining with all the moving and packing and unpacking going on as well.

01:41 And honestly, I feel like one of the biggest causes to my own procrastination through out that period of time was being tired, was being exhausted. And sometimes for us that is the case and that’s why we need to have rest in our schedule. It’s very important to rest. I know that today and in this day in age, there’s a lot of talk out there about hustle and do more and be more and everything like that. But we can’t be the best people that we want to be without building rest into our calendars without building rest into our days in our lives. So what does rest look like then? Well, it means for one, getting enough sleep at night. If you’re staying up til two in the morning and getting up at six go to work, that’s really not going to work for you longterm.

02:44 Also, it looks like making sure you’re taking at least one day off in the week, so what that might look like for me is making sure I have Saturdays with my family, making sure that there’s time on that in that day to not only interact and play with my family, but maybe to do something creative that’s a little bit out of my norm. I personally like to do things like songwriting. Rests can also look like getting out of your norm. People usually call this a vacation or a holiday, but sometimes you need to take a few days away and go somewhere, whether it’s with your family or by yourself to reset and get clarity, but also to rest and get a little bit of relief from what’s been going on in your life. My wife and I had an opportunity to do that while we were in the process of moving and it was fantastic. It really gave us a reset for us and also for ourselves individually. And rest is something that we need to have in our lives on a daily basis too. We can’t just push the pedal to the metal because we will burn ourselves out and oftentimes procrastination can be a sign if we’re tired anyway and if that’s the root of it, it can be a sign that we are on the road to burnout. Very important thing to take stock of here because nobody wants to burn out. We just end up there because we’ve pushed too hard.

04:26 Another way to avoid procrastination, (we can procrastinate on procrastinating, right), is to schedule leisure first. Well, this is really kind of a backwards idea, but it comes from the book The Now Habit and in particular a framework that is developed in that book called the unschedule. The whole point is recognizing that procrastination comes a lot of times from our desire for enjoyment, and we tend to procrastinate doing the things where we don’t think we’re going to get enjoyment or we work so much that we don’t have enjoyment in our lives. And so then births more procrastination and us because we’re just flat out worn out. So to combat this, you build a schedule, but your first building blocks in the schedule are not your job or not the things that you need to do on a daily basis to get stuff done, but instead it’s your leisure time. It’s, I’m going to go play tennis with somebody on Saturday morning at 10 o’clock; on Tuesday evenings at seven o’clock I’m hosting a song writing group, or I’m going to this hobby group.

05:47 It’s things like that because there’s a mental trick that happens when we have something to look forward to that already in the calendar. Have you wondered why that you get the most work done the week before a long vacation? Well one, it’s because the time’s compressed and you know you’re going to be gone and you know that you’re going to have to catch up after the fact. But the other part of it is that you have something to look forward to and so you want to make sure that you have all the loose ends tied up so you can be free and totally engaged in the vacation activity that you’re going to have. But frankly, we don’t have to just have a week long vacation or two week long vacation to get us into that mindset. We can have that all of the time if we make sure we have stuff that we can look forward to in our calendar, in our schedule.

06:46 So be sure to schedule leisure first. That’s a very important piece of beating procrastination, especially if you really struggle with it. Now the book The Now Habit is one that is written about and for people who chronically deal with procrastination. So if that’s you, I highly recommend that book. I have never really been one to chronically deal with procrastination, but it does hit me from time to time and the strategies in that book, which was written by a psychologist by the way, who has studied procrastination, the strategies in that book are highly helpful in getting past those issues. I highly recommend checking it out if that’s you.

07:32 But one other thing, and probably one of the most important strategies to beat procrastination or frankly to do anything that we are struggling with ourselves is accountability. I know accountability can get a pretty bad rap some times. It can be, you know, I think a lot of people have the frame of accountability of somebody you know, helping you keep from doing things that you don’t want to do necessarily. And that’s not really what accountability is. I have heard it termed in a couple of different ways that I find really helpful and enlightening. One that accountability is someone that is there to help account for your ability. So someone who is there to basically help you rise up into your capabilities and the possibility of who you can be.

08:31 The other side that I’ve heard of it too is that accountability is not to keep you from smoking, but it is to make sure that you’re on fire. Accountability is there to make sure that you are moving in the best direction for you, that you are the person who you are made to be, that you are the person who is ultimately in the direction that you want to grow and going in the direction that you want to go with your life. Part of this came up for me last week in a conversation with my boss and it was really helpful because sometimes you just need an outside perspective. Other people can often see stuff in us that we’re not able to see ourselves, and other people can have an influence on us and help us get motivated to get past something that we’re struggling with that we are having a hard time doing ourselves.

09:25 Sometimes we need someone who can believe in us more than we’re able to believe in ourselves at a given moment in time in order for us to get going further. And so I think that if you’re struggling with procrastination and you’re having a hard time beating it, find somebody that you can trust. Talk to them about the problem. Tell them what you’re expecting out of them in this, that you want somebody to help you remember that you are capable of doing good work. That you’re capable of doing the hard stuff. This can be somebody who is a fellow employee at work. It can be your spouse, it can be a parent, it can be friend. It can be someone, anyone that you trust enough to talk to them about an issue that you’re dealing with – in this case, particularly procrastination. Accountability, I think is probably one of the most powerful tools that any of us can have in our tool belts when it comes to being productive and being intentional and beating procrastination because we can’t do everything alone.

10:42 Well, that calls it a wrap for our strategies on beating procrastination. Procrastination is a difficult thing to overcome sometimes, but when we take a step back and try to narrow down our choices, give ourselves some context for time and some clarity, if we’ve made sure that we’re resting enough, if we have leisure in our calendar and if we have people in our life that can help pull us forward when we’re stuck dragging behind. I think procrastination is something that each and every single one of us can beat.

11:14 Well, that’s all for this time. If you want to join in on the discussion for this episode, or if you want to connect with other remote workers looking to grow in their effectiveness, head on over to the Effective Remote Work Community at community.effectiveremotework.com. Be sure to join our Patreon at effectiveremotework.com/patreon to get access to our exclusive members-only content. If Twitter’s your thing, you can find me at @justindirose, and the podcast and community @effectiveremote. Don’t forget to subscribe to the show at podcast.effectiveremotework.com. Lastly, if you like this show, rate us on iTunes or recommend us on Overcast! My name is Justin DiRose and join me next time on Process.

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