1. If you’re a paralyzed Procrastinator
You will get out of your own way by adopting a “20% Iteration” mentality for your work. This means you never sit down to create a final draft, you plan only to create a crappy rough draft. Next time you work, you focus only on filling in the gaps by 20%. Continue this until you reach 80% completion.
Then ship it.
2. As a Passive Procrastinator
You will get out of your own way when you accept the menial tasks as a success tax. They’re a small cost of being successful. Automate everything you can. But there may remain a few “tax tasks” that must be completed in order to continue doing what you want to do.
3. As a Pile-on Procrastinator
Two things will help you get out of your way:
1. Essentials. Put only 1-2 critical items on your to-do list. If it’s not essential, it goes on a “Later List” so you can procrastinate that instead.
2. Specificity. Schedule when specifically you will reach a specific result in a specific place by specific means. Don’t just say “I’ll get to this tomorrow.” Write down instead:
“From 3:00 to 3:30 I will write my 500-word email with a call to action at the end. I will write it at the desks at the library and use my text editing program with my wifi turned off.”
What specifically? When specifically?
Where specifically? How specifically?
Don’t deviate from the schedule.
4. As a Puppy Procrastinator
You are driven by distraction. You will get out of your own way by eliminating distraction – including other tasks. Attention is your most valuable asset. You need to protect it like gold. Honor your attention. Everyone gets 24 hours a day. But you only get a few hours of quality, focused attention each day. This will take some effort to rebuild. Luckily, it won’t take long for you to see results.
Start by structuring 30 minutes without distractions. Move yourself to a location like a library if you must. Choose a single, simple task to complete in this time. Close your browser tabs, turn on some lyricless music and focus your attention on the task at hand.
Reward yourself with 5 minutes of planned distraction after completing each task. This will train your mind to value your attention appropriately.