Magical Formula for Procrastination Destruction

by Jarrod

Photo credit Jonas Bengtsson

Laying down at the end of the day, you wonder where all the time went. Thinking of all the wonderful things you want to achieve in your life you despair at how another day slipped by doing somewhat meaningless tasks. All those things that would really make a difference and change your life still sit on the todo list.

Procrastination has struck again.

Now thanks to Piers Steel we have a neat (and very technically detailed) paper on procrastination containing the following magical formula:

The Magical Formula

U = E V / Γ D

U: Utility

How much you feel like you want to do it. The greater this value then the more likely you will be to do it, which is what we want.

E: Expectancy

How confident you are about being able to do the task easily and effortlessly. Your expectations about the task.

Increase E by:

  • Every time you feel reluctant to do the task, break it down into the next easiest action to be done. Rinse and Repeat.
  • Realise that other people have accomplished what you have done and more so you can do it to.
  • Know that you can always learn any skills you need to, find the people to teach you.

V: Value

How valuable is the task to you. How much enjoyment will it bring doing it and also having it done.

Increase V by:

  • Know why you want to do this task. What will it give you? What will having that give you in your life? What does it feel like to have that?
  • Bring the end state pleasure into the current moment. Link those feelings with taking action now. Your next action gets you closer to your goals, get excited and get into action.
  • Realise any effort taken to overcome obstacles is nothing compared to the joy of successful completion.

Γ: Proneness to distraction

How often do you get distracted from a single task. How likely are you to delay doing a task.

Decrease Γ by:

  • Consistently choose to take action. Make it a habit.
  • Take away as many distractions as possible. Turn off the internet, your phone and your housemates.
  • Put your task up on the wall right in front of you. Have it written down

D: Deadline

How soon is the task due. How far away is the deadline.

Decrease D by:

  • Timeboxing. Give yourself a very restrictive deadline to get it done so that you feel like you simply must start.
  • Break the task down so that you know roughly how long it will take to get done. Then set yourself the task of finishing it in half the time

These little parameters summarise all the elements required in order for you to increase your likelihood of overcoming procrastination and get stuff done to change your life.

Learn how to increase your (U)wanting to do it by increasing your (E)confidence and (V)importance and enjoyment in conjunction reducing your (Γ)proneness to distraction and working with (D)shorter deadlines.

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