What Stops Me From Getting Stuff Done? — #10DBC #freedomplan #day1

Little confession time about productivity on my part.

For me this is actually day 4 of the 10 day challenge, but I’ve been procrastinating.

Not something all that new to me and in my mind there are a few reasons why I procrastinate, but first… what is procrastination?

From the research the youtube channel SciShow has done different subfields of psychology has different ways to describe psychology:

  • A Neuropsychologist might call it a Failure Of Executive Function
    OR How you plan ahead and Prioritise tasks.
  • A Social psychologist might point at a problem related to Emotional Regulation.
    OR Trying to avoid bad feelings like stress.
  • An Evolutionary Psychologists think it could be partly genetic.
    So we are prone to procrastination because of our DNA.

In reality it appears to be a combination starting with an actual argument between different parts of the brain.

Letting the Monkey Drive — #becausescience
Overly simplified the prefrontal cortex which the part of the brain implicated in a variety of complex behaviours like planning, would be where the drive to do the work lies.

In a more primitive part of the brain, the limbic system (which includes the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus, basal ganglia, and cingulate gyrus) has been linked with our play behaviours.

This very real fight between work and play has been explained in a very delightful Ted Talk by Tim Urban the creator of Wait but Why ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Tim Urban — Ted

Tim explains that in the brains of “serial procrastinators” there lives the Instant Gratification Monkey (limbic system) which seems to overpower the Rational Decision Maker with ease.

Taking Back the Wheel
To start with I think it is important to understand why the Monkey is tripping us up and how we can get him/her to cooperate.

Generally when having to do a task or a body of work there is natural fear that sets in and could be one of the following:

  • The task may overwhelming and you don’t know where to start
  • If the task is unpleasant you might dread the displeasure of doing the task
  • If the task is complex where you performance may be measure you have a fear of failure

Metacognition (simply put — thinking about thinking) is strategically a very way to start recognising and understanding these simple fears and overcome them.

The How
It is important to build a structure rather than excluding the monkey make time for him or her as well.

We can do this with a simple planning structure:

  • Plan Goals
  • Plan Time
  • Plan Resources
  • Plan Process
  • Plan for Distractions
  • Plan for Failure

NOTE: don’t build this plan too high level so that you are too easily distracted.

Talking from experience here where I generally find 30 minutes…. ok 2 hours, lost on researching “relevant” things (dumb shit).

@RobinCamarote sighted this issue of “research mode” in her article on inc.com so make sure you build the tactics into the Process section of your plan.

Rise and Grind
Yes this is the “Just do it” or “…Do or do not. There is no try…” part and it is true that we actually enjoy being in the flow of our work. Our distractions are just us forgetting that we learn something new every time we TAKE ACTION.

Gary Vee — Take Action

Date: 13 September 2016