She addresses graduate/PhD students struggling to complete their theses but there’s quite a bit to learn here. She considers procrastination as a perfectly logical response: why wouldn’t one seek pleasure? It’s something that (a) reveals a lot about what you’re afraid of and (b) is hence a protection response.
Other notes, thoughts, etc:
- “B’s get degrees.” Don’t pursue perfectionism. Done is better. Don’t let Perfect be the enemy of the Good. Don’t get Good be the enemy of the Necessary. “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” You’ll be OK. Finish it.
- The environment you do your work in and your work ritual are very, very important. Set a time and place every day to what needs to be done. Diminish distractions as much as possible1.
- Set your phone in distraction-free mode and place it on the floor, face down. Allow only a few people to break its silence in case of emergencies. Establish working hours with them and everyone else (i.e., not everything is an emergency.) Guard your time fiercely.
- Chunk the job/project into as many atomic tasks as possible. Do the smallest task. Celebrate its completion (briefly) and be kind to yourself. Rinse and repeat. Seek momentum.
- Procrastination ultimately is about the past or the future. Try not to think of the end result. You are here right now to finish a paragraph, write a bit of code, read that paper. Be here now.
- Assume responsibility. Stop whinging.
Over the past year, I’ve been amazed by how much mindfulness comes up with almost every conversation I have (or book I read or podcast I listen to) about self improvement and Joy in Life.
Was reading an article on the efficacy of todo lists and lo!
It’s the same deal as with weight loss: you will lose weight if your kitchen only contains healthy and low-sugar food. ↩︎