From: zenhabits: Tim Ferriss on Procrastination (edited)
1. What have you been doing lately to beat procrastination?
I wake up and immediately work on writing without Internet or e-mail from 9-12.
I batch my phone calls.
2. What's the biggest reason people have a hard time starting an important task.
The biggest problem is that people bite off too much. Make your quota low so you can succeed each day.
One hugely successful ghost writer (50+ books, including NYT bestsellers) told me his secret to success: just two crappy pages per day. That’s all he had to write to win for the day.
For decades IBM salespeople sold the most because they had the lowest quotas and therefore weren’t intimidated to pick up the phone.
Start small. The Pomodoro technique asks you to commit to just 20 minutes. That helps overcome inertia.
From Herb Lui: How to be as Effective as Tim Ferriss (edited)
LIMIT YOUR WORK
Ferriss doesn’t pour in excessive hours. He sets a low daily quota (two crappy pages worth of writing everyday). And he recognizes that he has a maximum threshold after approximately four hours of work.
The reason for the low quota is so that he’s not so intimidated that he never gets started. He recognized that an extremely low quota was the reason IBM had the most dominant salesforce in the tech industry. “They didn’t feel like their objective was so daunting that they couldn’t take that first step.”
“I don’t believe it’s possible for me to have more than four hours per day of creative work and that is true for all of my friends, even prolific writers.” He is capable of editing and other activities outside of this quota.
Another another benefit to limiting work: “Limiting yourself to a finite number of hours per day for a given activity forces you to use 80/20 analysis (prioritize)." You figure out which efforts are bringing the most best results and focus on them. Ferriss tries to apply it in many facets of his life.
“I have all the same demons you do and make all the same mistakes that you do. I just identify what I’m not going to do, my not-to-do list, very carefully.” He patiently figures out what creates the most impact with the same amount of effort.
From: Ariston Anderson: Tim Ferris on The Creative Process (edited)
My quota is two crappy pages per day. I keep it really low so I’m not so intimidated that I never get started.
I do my best writing between 10 pm and 5 am. I gather research throughout the day. I’ll get all my notes and materials together and then I’ll do the synthesis between 10 p.m. to bed, which is usually 4 or 5 a.m.
I will have a station on Pandora, and I will put a movie on and mute it in the background so I don’t feel like I’m in isolation.
It takes me an hour and a half to get my brain into the flow of doing anything writing related. So once I’m in that flow, I will bleed the stone for as long as I can. If things are going well, I’m not going to stop until I nose dive. But if it goes for an hour-and-a-half and it’s like pulling teeth, then it might be time to go to bed.
Try a low-information diet. Get a really cheap laptop that doesn’t have Internet connectivity and do as much work on that as possible.
Go back to pen and paper. Because once you’re on the computer and distraction is a click away, you’re just like a rat with a cocaine dispenser. You’re going to get toasted.
From: Tim Ferris: The Creative Process in Action (edited)
To start something big, you have to first start something small.
Perfectionism is a forgiving term for a bad habit, like calling someone eccentric instead of crazy. To create anything remarkable, you start with next to nothing then take many small steps in the right direction.
You have to revise something bad or mediocre until it finally works. As Ernest Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is shit.”
From: Arina's Self Help Blog: Overcoming Procrastination From Tim Ferris (edited)
What if you could become world-class in anything in just 6 months, overcoming procrastination almost effortlessly?
1: You can’t fully get rid of procrastination.
Procrastination is in our nature. We cannot completely overcome it. So we have to make time for procrastination in our schedule.
Example: You are least productive after lunch. So block this half hour for tasks that you usually do when you don’t feel like working (like organizing papers on your desk or grabbing a cup of coffee).
2: Lower your quota.
The less pressure we put on ourselves, the less we procrastinate. Overly ambitious goals can be the main cause of procrastination, because they seem overwhelming and scary.
Lowering your expectations helps you take the first small steps and gets you going. You are more calm, content and creative when you cut yourself some slack.
3: Experiment to know what suits you.
There is no time management or productivity system that fits everyone. There are no strict rules for overcoming procrastination. You have to experiment to find what works best for you and create your own productivity rituals.
Example: you may discover that you are most productive when you don’t check your emails first thing in the morning. Or that your best ideas come to you as you are discussing them with other people.
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