How Jay Shetty Overcame Procrastination, Overwhelm, and Overthinking While Writing Think Like a Monk
Writing a book has been one of Jay Shetty’s greatest desires for years. When the time came to sit down and get started on Think Like a Monk, however, Shetty found himself facing three common obstacles everyone faces from time to time — procrastination, overthinking, and overwhelm.
Jay Shetty overcame these three obstacles and went from writer’s block to written book by drawing on his training as a monk and looking inside himself to do the inner work that leads to success. Keep reading to learn how Jay Shetty broke down each of the three obstacles and discovered the solutions to procrastination, overthinking, and overwhelm.
Jay Shetty couldn’t seem to make much headway writing his book. Every time he sat down to write, it seemed like he found himself staring at a blank page, wondering why he couldn’t just stop procrastinating. He tried to shake himself out of it and force himself to get things accomplished.
It didn’t help. The problem was, the issue WASN’T procrastination — it went much deeper. To beat procrastination at its own game, Jay Shetty had to get to the root of why he was procrastinating in the first place.
How to Identify the Root of Procrastination
“We think we need to overcome procrastination and overwhelm,” Jay Shetty said, “But that’s not really what we need to overcome.” Shetty unlocked what was behind his procrastination by asking himself just one question.
WHY am I procrastinating?
In many cases, the cause of procrastination is rooted in one thing — FEAR. Fear of failure, fear of not excelling, fear of not having the right abilities, and fear of regret were holding him back and keeping him from taking action.
Once Shetty identified what was BEHIND his procrastination, he created a streamlined process that cut straight through his fear and moved him into productivity.
From Procrastination to Productivity
Jay Shetty knew that in order to leave procrastination behind, he needed to S.T.A.R.T.
Strategize — First, he sat down and created a strategy for success.
Tasks — Second, he broke everything down into bite-sized tasks.
Abilities — Third, he invested in growing his abilities where needed.
Research — Fourth, he dove into researching and gathering any information he lacked.
Time — Finally, he blocked out the time in his schedule to accomplish the tasks.
This five-step process gave Shetty the confidence and certainty he needed to leave procrastination behind and write his book.
Once the book writing process started, Jay Shetty found himself stuck overthinking whenever he got stuck. He noticed that he’d find himself in a cycle of thinking things like:
Am I qualified to write a book? What information should I include? What if people don’t like it? What if I don’t do a good enough job? What if no one wants to purchase it? What if I’m not good at being an author?
Although it was tempting to push the thoughts away or ignore them, Shetty knew if he didn’t address it, it would keep coming back over and over. He needed to take a moment to reconnect with himself to determine if he was on the right track.
How to Avoid Living With Regret
Jay Shetty was stuck in a cycle of overthinking. He knew that to leave it behind, he had to get to the root of it. To do that, he asked himself two questions:
- What would his younger self regret if he stopped doing?
- What would his oldest self regret never trying?
“The first answer my younger self gave me is that it would be sad if I stopped writing,” said Jay Shetty. “I would be sad if I stopped sharing messages with words because that’s what I did as a teenager.” His answer to the second question was similar.
“I asked myself what would my oldest self regret that I never tried. My answer would be using entertainment and media to change the world.”
Writing a book had been his dream and calling for many years. If he stopped now, his younger self would be so disappointed, and his older self would have to live with the regret of never doing it.
“This has been my heart, my gut, my inner calling for so many years,” he said. “I’m not living in the past. I’m using the past to empower the present and the future.” Shetty’s overthinking was a symptom of feeling disconnected from his past dreams of being a writer. Once he acknowledged that this path had always been meant for him, the overthinking faded away.
“At the end of my life, my future self would regret if I didn’t give serving people my all,” said Jay Shetty. “I’ll regret that I didn’t go all out. If I cave now and don’t reach my potential, my future self will regret it.”
Jay Shetty recalls feeling overwhelmed when he first started writing as he looked ahead at everything that needed to be accomplished. Suddenly the task seemed impossible, and that made it harder and harder for him to feel motivated to act.
Not having a clear path for how each day could be structured to help him accomplish what needed to get done was holding him back. He couldn’t see the path ahead of him, and that was keeping him from even getting started.
“Anything that you see in the real world first came from someone’s mind,” said Jay Shetty, “but we have never created how we feel in our mind about our day. We let our day dictate how we feel in our mind when actually what happens in our mind is what should dictate the day.”
He realized he needed to start visualizing the whole process.
“The most powerful things in our lives are first visualized,” said Jay Shetty. “We’ve never visualized our ideal days. We’ve never visualized how we want to feel when we’re doing our work. We’ve never visualized how we want to wake up. We’ve never visualized any of that, which is why we’re constantly at the mercy of the day.”
3 Simple Practices to Combat Overwhelm
To combat overwhelm, Shetty put into place three simple practices that helped him stay on track with his productivity.
First, he began planning out his week, day by day in advance so he’d know exactly what he needed to be doing and when. Each night he went through a simple 12-minute mindfulness practice. This simple meditation helped him set up his intention for the next day, which upped his productivity.
Second, he chose one person he wanted to connect with each day. This helped him stay in contact with the people he cared about, no matter how full his schedule was and could be something as simple as a text or email.
Third, he set aside time each day to do something for his own presence. Whether it was reading, meditating, or exercising, he chose an activity each day that would help him stay connected and present with himself.
More On Procrastination From Jay Shetty
Jay Shetty found that the key to breaking through obstacles and overcoming procrastination, overthinking, and overwhelm was simple — INTENTIONAL TIME.
It takes intentional time to sit down and get to the root of your fears and S.T.A.R.T.
It takes intentional time to get quiet with yourself and determine what your younger self and oldest self would regret stopping or not doing.
And it takes intentional time to purposefully plan your schedule and connections you make with yourself and others.
“I knew that anything that was not timed out on my schedule was not going to happen,” said Shetty. “If you feel a lack of confidence, it’s not in yourself or your abilities. Lack of confidence comes from not taking the time to research, practice, and schedule out the things that need to be done.”
Once Jay Shetty took that time, procrastination, overthinking, and overwhelm faded into the background.
Jay Shetty’s highly-anticipated first book, Think Like a Monk, hits the shelves in bookstores and online retailers on April 14, 2020. This book has already hit multiple Amazon best-seller lists worldwide. Click here to pre-order your copy now.