As Joseph R. Ferrari, PhD says in his book “Still Procrastinating? The No-Regrets Guide to Getting It Done,” simplistic remedies will not work: timers, calendars, lists, or apps.
You must learn about the psychological causes, so that you can then intervene on them using certain strategies. (These strategies might include to do lists and apps, but always for a reason backed by the science.)
And, yes, I am going to share those strategies with you, don’t worry. Stay tuned.
But here’s a taste.
Ferrari says that often times, the cause of procrastination is we feel the task is too large or we just can’t do it and we get psychologically overwhelmed. To nip this in the bud, Ferrari says we need to learn to write our to do lists better. Break what it’s going to take to meet you goals into as small of tasks as you can. If you have to write a paper, the task to start with might be “Write outline for paper” or “Write introductory paragraph for paper,” depending on your work style.
Writing an outline is not as intimidating as the thought of having to finish the paper. So this will improve the chances that you start in on the task. It’s not a panacea but it does increase your odds of being productive. And that’s all you can do. There is no cure-all for procrastination. There are only strategies that will make you more likely to be productive.
This is because most of the strategies will not rely on your conscious will power. Instead, the strategies often involve setting up rituals, structures, and habits so that you get down to work without even having to try hard to do it. And when you set up your environment in a certain way or establish habits in a certain way, then statistically speaking, your unconscious mind is more likely to be affected and cause you to start working.
So, yes, these strategies can add up and you can enhance your productivity.
More strategies from Ferrari coming soon.