Beat Procrastination By Making Benefits Feel Bigger, Costs Feel Smaller

Beat Procrastination By Making Benefits Feel Bigger, Costs Feel Smaller

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Welcome to our Productivity Tip of the Day, where we summarize the best articles from across the web, and extract the key tips and tricks that will help your productivity.

How to Beat Procrastination
by Caroline Webb (@caroline_webb)

Key Takeaway
: Beating procrastination is all about rebalancing the cost-benefit analysis: make the benefits of action feel bigger and the costs of action feel smaller.

Tips & Tricks:

To make the benefits of action feel bigger:

  • Visualize how great it will be to get a task done. Take a moment to paint a vivid mental picture of the benefits of getting it done. It can sometimes be just enough to get you unstuck.
  • Pre-commit, publicly. Our brain’s reward system is highly responsive to our social standing. Tell people that you’re going to get something done to force yourself to do it.
  • Confront the downside of inaction. We often don’t consider the pros and cons of not doing something. Force yourself to think about the downside of putting things off to spur yourself into action.

To make the costs of action feel smaller:

  • Identify the first step. Identify the very smallest first step, something that’s so easy that you can see that the benefits outweigh the costs of effort.
  • Tie the first step to a treat. Tie completing the first step that you’re avoiding to something that you’re not, like a guilty pleasure or a reward.

Remove the hidden blockage. Sometimes, a perfectly noble competing commitment is undermining your motivation. Patiently ask yourself a few “why” questions—”why does it feel tough to do this?” and “why’s that?”—and the blockage and ways to overcome it can surface quite quickly.