Understanding the emotions behind procrastination

You have a deadline. You know you should get to work. But instead of focusing on what’s urgent and important, you spend your time on something else. Despite the inner voice telling you to get started and the rising anxiety, you’re procrastinating. While the neuroscience of procrastination is mainly based on a fight between your …

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Micro-wins: celebrating progress over success

I was having coffee with a friend today, and he told me how he made sure to celebrate his micro-wins. Celebrating victories is obviously not a new concept, but we tend to focus on the finish line and our biggest achievements. We rarely take the time to stop and appreciate the small, daily victories. Micro-wins …

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The ten minute rule of productivity

In the UK, the Ten Minute Rule allows a backbench member of parliament—one that is neither part of the government nor the opposition—to make their case for a new bill in a speech lasting up to ten minutes. After the ten minutes have passed, another MP may speak for a further ten minutes to oppose …

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SMART goals are not so smart: make a PACT instead

A system without a goal is like a marathon without a finish line. But a system with a bad goal will result in a bad outcome. Traditional goal-setting methods use the SMART framework. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Sounds great for small, short-term goals, but not so much for ambitious, long-term …

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The Eisenhower matrix of prioritisation

Very few decision-making frameworks are as simple and powerful as the Eisenhower matrix. Dwight Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States and had an incredibly productive life. Amongst many accomplishments, he served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II, launched programmes such as DARPA and NASA, …

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Being prepared is overrated: start before you feel ready

Getting ready is fun. Doing research, learning new things, feeling excited about the journey ahead. But whether you’re planning on writing a book, launching a product, or building an exercise routine, getting ready can become a distraction: there is a very fine line between preparation and procrastination. Yes, getting ready is comfortable. But most successful …

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Metacognition: how to think about thinking

When you want to learn or build something new, it’s tempting to just get going. Read as much as you can, do some tutorials, work on some related projects. Short-term, this gives you a motivation boost. You feel like you’re making progress. But, after a while, you notice that you’re not progressing as fast as …

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Turning push goals into pull goals

Let’s say you want to become a published author. You have this clear objective you want to achieve, and decide on a game plan to get there. You read about the stories of other authors, you make a list of publishers to reach out to, you think about ways you could get an agent. You …

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Focus on the process: stop thinking and start doing

We often assume that the reason why we struggle to achieve our goals is a lack of knowledge. So we buy self-help books and online courses, hoping that it will get us closer to our objective. But what we often don’t do is practice and focus on the process. As a result, we accumulate a …

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