Let’s talk about it.
It’s a big topic.
And by the way we all face it.
It is a ever present evergreen issue for a reason and even the people you see on magazine
covers, most of them, there are a few mutants, but they all have things they put off.
And there are a few different tactics, approaches that I found very helpful that I’ve borrowed
from, whether it’s guests on the Tim FerrissShow or people I interviewed for Tools of
Titans my newest book, here we go.
So down the list.
So one is break it down into the smallest action conceivable.
And there are a few different types here.
So if you have a macro goal, which is double the number of podcast downloads per episode.
I’m just giving that as an example.
Well, we need to modify that to make it really actionable.
So the first is making it hyper, hyper specific so we need a timeline at the very least.
比如 在六个月内翻番 让播客的下载翻番
So let’s say within six months doubling, and this is a real example for me, doubling the
number of podcast downloads.
Well, downloads are ongoing so by what point in time?
好的 我想要视频上线后 到第六周每集博客下载量的数字翻倍
All right, I want to double the number of podcast downloads per episode by week six
after publication and I want to accomplish that within six months.
于是乎我们可以借鉴David Allen 达成这个目标
And then we can borrow from David Allen and just ask what are some of the prerequisites,
the component pieces of doing that?
Let’s break it out into say content and organic.
You could have it paid acquisition, you make a long list of these potential buckets of
From there you would look at next physical actions, and this is directly from getting
And you could apply that to any number of these, let’s just say it’s ten buckets but
you would ask yourself, this is a question I ask myself very often when I’m procrastinating
because there is indecision, and this is a particular breed of procrastination.
这个问题就是 如果我的代办清单上有十件事情 或者有十件我可以买的东西
In other words if I have ten things on my to do list or ten potential products I could
pursue what to do in that situation?
对于我 我问自己 如果完成了这里的哪一件事情 会让剩下的有关联或
And what I ask myself is which one of these if done will make the rest the relevant or
This is a key question I ask all the time, which one of these will make all the rest
会让剩下的事情更容易做 或者是让剩下的事情变得不相关 从而不用去做
easier to do if done first, or all the rest irrelevant, don’t even need to do them.
That is how I will hone in on one piece of the puzzle.
And this can be applied all over the place.
But let’s just say it’s the doubling podcast, it could be losing weight, you can see that’s
very, very amorphous.
We need timelines.
We need an amount to lose.
And then you want to make it as small as possible.
So I’ll give you a different example.
If you want to start flossing your teeth, who likes flossing their teeth?
Pretty much nobody.
So how do you start flossing your teeth?
Well, you want to make it as easy as possible to develop as part of your routine, to make
it as automatic as anything else that you do consistently.
And you could borrow from the say BJ Fogg who’s done a lot of research at Stanford and
elsewhere, make it as small as possible, meaning in the beginning do less than you’re capable
So this is another key when you think something is too big or onerous, so it’s too intimidating
or it’s too much of a pain in the ass.
So for flossing you might say I’m only going to floss my front two teeth.
That’s three gaps.
That’s all you’re going to do.
And you want to make it, again, as easy as possible.
So you might use a WaterPik or you might use those disposable flossing gadgets so you don’t
have to do tourniquets on your fingers, which is also one of the side effects of flossing
that deters people.
Make it as easy as possible.
Now this applies to a lot more than flossing.
So I’ve talked to many of the people for say Tools of Titans, people who are eight time
纽约时报的畅销作家 或是著名音乐家 歌曲创作者
New York Times best-selling authors or prolific musicians, prolific music producers
like Rick Rubin who is legendary, and it all comes down to tiny homework assignments.
So Rick if he has a stuck artist, for instance, he will say can you get me one word or one
line that you might like for this song that you’re working on by tomorrow, is that possible?
Many, many homework assignments.
So with the creative project in the beginning that’s one
It’s related to a piece of advice that I got from Neil Strauss, eight times New York times
best selling author, he has written for The New York Times, he’s written for Rolling Stone
Magazine, and that is lower your standards.
So he doesn’t believe in writer’s block.
He says your standards are just too high.
You’re creating performance anxiety for yourself.
So the advice that I got from another writer, which matches with that, is two crappy pages
So a lot of people are like I’m going to kill it.
I need an ambitious goal.
Let me do 1500 words, 2000 words per day for this book I’m working on.
Well, there is a very high probability that you’re going to fall short of that and then
然后你会对任务感到害怕 随后 你会开始
you will get demoralized, then you will get intimidated by the task and then you’ll start
所以 将障碍和成功的门槛设置的低一些 再低一些
So make the hurdle, make the success threshold really, really low.
That’s what I’ve done for my last three books is two crappy pages per day.
That’s all I need.
如果我没有做到 那也没关系 我只需要放弃这两页
If I don’t end up using them that’s fine I just need to get out two crappy pages.
What ends up happening?
洁牙 写作 锻炼等都很适用 如果你新年的决心是准备开始锻炼
With the flossing, with the writing, with say exercise, if you’re going to exercise
you’re making a New Year’s Resolution, don’t make it an hour a day four times a week, no,
且如果你没有锻炼的习惯 那每周去三次体育馆 每次坚持5到10分钟
no, no, and if you don’t have an exercise habit five to ten minutes at the gym three
times a week, plenty.
And in all those cases you will feel successful because you’ve checked your box for success
and then very often you will exceed that for extra credit.
You’ll be like oh I’m already at the gym I’ll go for an extra ten minutes.
Well, I’m already flossing my teeth I’ll do an extra four.
Well, I’ve already hit my two pages but I’m feeling great and I’m in the flow, maybe I’ll
do ten, maybe I’ll do 20.
But it prevents you from feeling like a failure.
This is very, very important.
That is what derails a lot of people and it also makes the task list intimidating.
So those are a few recommendations for avoiding procrastination.
Some of them are time related.
So if you are looking at a task, and we’ve already talked about chunking it down, if
it looks gigantic an onerous and you calculate in your mind well that’s probably going to
消耗你几百个小时或者是三周时间 这时候你面对任务时 你不会想迈出第一步
take me a hundred hours or three weeks, however you look at it, you don’t take the first step
because it’s like taking a bite out of a whale or something like that.
举个例子 你可以用这个方法 番茄工作法
So you can use the technique, for instance, like the pomodoro technique.
And people have interpreted this in different ways but it effectively means sprints of say
20 to 25.
Some people do 23 minutes where you’re like all right I know I’m not going to get this
done but I’m going to sprint for 20 minutes, 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break.
And then I will sprint again for 20 to 25 minutes.
And the magic of those time constraints, I’ve talked about this a lot has Parkinson’s Law,
but the complexity of a task swelling to fill the time that it’s allotted.
Once you have these positive constraints, which by the way for a creative person, very
important to have positive constraints.
Being able to do anything you want all the time is a recipe for disaster and paralysis
And I’ll talk about one or more constraint that you can apply.
So you have something like the pomodoro technique.
If it’s email related you can actually use a tool called Email Game.
I won’t go into a long description but emailga.me is the URL.
You can check that out.
It avoids the inbox view and forces you to answer sequentially.
So I’ll let people check that out.
That will probably cut down your email clearing time by 40 percent or so.
The next way that you can apply positive constraint is by building in incentives and consequences.
All this means is make yourself socially accountable.
你可以用这些网站如 Stickk.com Coach.me
And you can use a site like Stickk.com, you can use Coach.me, having someone else to
hold your feet to the fire and keep you accountable for whatever goal you’ve set for yourself.
That could be a check in via phone, it could be a bet, so a financial component, which
is very effect.
I’ve seen high ranking folks at Google lose a hundred plus pounds because they had a bet
with a friend, this is what got them started, their gym bodies if someone didn’t show up
they had to pay the other person a dollar.
So it’s incredible what a small amount of money can do.
You could also put together a betting pool say five people each put in $100 and the person
who loses the most of body fat or improves their body fat percentage using say DEXA Scan
by the end of the first-quarter gets the $500.
That is hugely, hugely effective.
And I think in part not because the money you will win but the money you will lose.
People will work a lot harder to counteract loss eversion it turns out.
So those are a few things that you could utilize.
And I’ll give you one kind of wacky one that is from Mike Birbiglia who’s one of the most
successful comedians on the planet, has done tons of TV, tons of movies and is fantastic
at standup, lot with This American Life.
And when he was procrastinating working on his screenplay, his latest screenplay, we
noticed that when he was accountable to someone else he had a meeting he was never late, he
was always early.
But when he had a commitment to himself to write he might put it off for hours.
So he took a Post-it and he put it next to his bed, and this sounds ludicrous, but it
但上面写着 迈克 三个感叹号 7点你在咖啡厅或者在其他什么办公的地方
said, Mike, and I think it was three exclamation points, you have a meeting with yourself at
7:00 a.m. at café whatever it was where he intended to work and that actually for whatever
weird quirk of human psychology got him to stay on track for his meeting with himself
to write his screenplay.
So that’s another Jedi mind trick that you might try on yourself.
这里提供了很多方法 化整为零 定义明确 制定能够顺利完成的任务
There are many tools in the toolkit but keep it small, keep it defined, rig it so you can
win and when in doubt figure out a way to create a loss or shame if you don’t actually
tackle your task and achieve some type of measurable goal by a specific point in time.