Procrastination: How to beat it

Hey friends,
Welcome to my first ever newsletter! I’m surprised I actually got around the starting this. While I may seem like I’m always productive I actually procrastinate a lot. Our minds tend to convince ourselves that the tasks we are distracting ourselves with are necessary to complete when they usually aren’t. For example, for this newsletter right here, I managed to spend hours researching the best text editors, and how to get write the perfect first newsletter. Instead, I could’ve just started writing and allowed the flow of my work to take me where I need to go. Here are 3 actionable tips and tricks I use to beat procrastination:

💡 Just get started
We tend to occupy ourselves with unnecessary tasks instead of getting the work that needs to be done, done. I use something called the 5-minute rule. If there’s a big task I need to complete, I say to myself, “just do it for 5 minutes”, usually after that 5 minutes, I just carry on with the task. The problem usually isn’t doing the task, it’s just getting started.

💡Avoid any distractions
When I try to start studying or get on with some work, I can easily keep myself distracted with social media for hours without realising it. By putting my phone in a place that is uncomfortable for me to reach, like throwing it on my couch in another room, I’ll be a lot less likely to get distracted by it. Picking up your phone causes your brain to lose its focus on your work. A University of California study found that after each interruption it takes over 23 minutes to refocus after being interrupted. Put your phone away when you want to get work done.

💡Prepare your study area
When I know I need to study on an afternoon, I make sure to get everything ready to study so there are as few barriers as possible to me sitting down and studying. Our brains are very intelligent, they will use any excuse they can find for us to not do work, so make sure you get rid of as many barriers as you can. Some things I do to get rid of barriers is to open my books on my desk and take a pen out of my pencil case, additionally, I like to start with my first line of notes which makes me more likely to want to carry on since that initial barrier of getting started is out of the way.

❤️A few things I enjoyed this week:

📹How Writing Online Made me a Millionaire by Ali Abdaal
This is the video that inspired me to start this newsletter in the first place. The main premise is “Show Your Work” which means that we should want to show our work to the public and that nobody is going to think what you’re doing is weird. More often than not, they’ll appreciate what you’re doing.

🎵How I Built This: Hinge – Justin McLeod
A super interesting podcast about an online dating site inspired by heartbreak. It’s a story of how Justin built Hinge from an idea he had in university when he decided to build a “crush finder” app to help himself find a new companion. He’s a great guy from whom I took many important life lessons.

📰5 Reasons to Skip White Bread for Good
Quite an interesting article I stumbled upon this week. It outlines 5 negative effects white bread has on our bodies. It was quite an eye-opener for me as I can easily eat 4-6 slices of white bread every day. Too much of anything is bad for you, so I have decided to reassess my diet choices when it comes to refined flour.

🫂Tom’s Practical Life Tip:
“If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive”
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. Instead of criticizing people, just try to understand them. Try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism and it breeds sympathy, tolerance, and kindness.

Quote of the Week:
“To know all is to forgive all”