23 Tools to Stop Procrastinating
Twenty Three Anti-procrastination tools is a book written by Akash Karia about the strategies people can apply to stop the habit of not getting things done. The author provides people with insights on how they can develop the now habit. The book is a guide to people to stop living in their dreams but rather moving into action. The author subdivides the book in sixteen chapters where all the chapters maintain the theme of fighting procrastination.
The first chapter is a guide to procrastinators on how they can get things done. The author claims that the habit of putting activities off till later or tomorrow is what impedes people from being successful. The author points out his discovery that successful people always get their things done even if they do not feel like doing them. For illustration, the author narrates a story of how procrastination led him into being deported out of a county.
The first tool of procrastination as proposed by Akash is the solar flaring technique and it is discussed in the second chapter. The author describes a solar flare as an explosion of a star that starts off while very small but later in grows enormous. The solar flaring method entails starting off to work on a big task through working on just a small portion of the work. The other technique proposed by the author is the five-minute technique. People procrastinate because they are afraid to work on a task for many hours. The tool entails committing to work on a task for just five minutes. Once a task is started off, a person will have the desire to complete it.
In the third chapter, Akash proposes the Lego Block method. This technique is applicable when one is faced by a large and complex problem and ends up procrastinating. People are always intimidated by large and complex tasks. The Lego block technique entails sub-dividing the task into small components and building one block after the other.In chapter four, the author gives guidelines on how one can avoid the language of a procrastinator. Akash highlights the common language used by the procrastinators and how they make excuses. In contrast, the author also outlines the language of successful people and how they use productivity talk. He notes that the successful people always find a reason to get things done. The author also provides an eight step guide on how the procrastinators can convert the procrastinator talk to a productive talk.
In chapter five of the book, the author introduces the ‘will I’ technique. The author realized from his own experiences that people break their own promises more oftenly. He notes that a better way to solve the problem is approaching a task by using the term ‘will I’ instead of ‘I will’. An intention to work on a task using the first approach gives one the intrinsic motivation as opposed to the latter approach. Chapter six of the book is about the application of a Seinfeld Calendar to avoid procrastination. The author notes that people procrastinate because they do not have any tool to self-monitor them. The author proposes the use of a calendar to give one the motivation to get things done. The author gives a guide on how the Seinfeld calendar can be used to monitor how often one procrastinates. With the Seinfeld calendar, an individual is able to monitor the days they procrastinated and it makes procrastination uncomfortable.
In chapter seven, the author addresses how to change task associations. He notes that people are motivated to perform some tasks by either pain or pleasure. People procrastinate because they associate the task with some pain and they work harder to attain some pleasure. The author applies the Dan Ariely’s trick on how to beat procrastination. He notes that an effective way to avoid procrastination is associating tasks with some kinds of rewards and pleasures as opposed to associating tasks with pain.
In chapter eight, the author discusses how one can transform boring tasks to interesting tasks. The author suggests that to make a task more interesting, one has to add some fun to it. The various techniques of adding fun may be in form of music, change of environment or simply transforming the task into a social activity. Chapter nine of the book discusses the perfectionist’s curse. The author claims that people find themselves procrastinating because they always want the task ahead to be perfect and are afraid of it. The author gives an example of his own experience how he found himself procrastinating because of his pursuit for perfection. The author notes that getting things done is much better that being perfect in jobs not done. People should realize that they can always attempt to perfect what they have already created.
Chapter ten gives guides on how people can cease forgetting tasks. The author narrates his own story at the work place and how he conveniently forgets to undertake unpleasant tasks. He proposes the use of a to-do-list where one writes all the important tasks that need to be done during the day. A to-do-list is an effective tool to avoid procrastination and it also helps increasing productivity. In chapter eleven, Akash discusses disguised procrastination and how to avoid it. He proposes the Pareto principle where one has to identify and focus on the top 20% activities that are more productive instead of focusing on the bottom 80% tasks that are less important.
Chapter twelve is a guide on how one can avoid procrastination by doing away with distractions. In getting things done, one has to be in an environment that eliminates any chances for procrastination. In chapter thirteen, the author introduces an’ if-then’ technique to avoid procrastination. He provides an anecdote of his own experience when he was in university and how he lost a chance of housing due to procrastination. Akash notes that committing to specifics is an effective strategy to beat procrastination. He suggests that the if-then planning is an effective tool to commit to specifics. In chapter thirteen, the author highlights the importance of choosing an accountability partner who monitors the progress of one’s tasks. He also outlines the specifics to look for in an accountability partner. Accountability partner may also entail joining a group where people are accountable for one another or sharing goals in social sites.
In chapter fifteen, Akash introduces the idea of burning ships. Burning ships entail incurring some cost to give one the motivation to get something done. The author notes that there exists a crisis between the present self and the future self. When one applies a pre-commitment device, it is possible to lock oneself in a particular course of action. The last chapter of the book introduces a Pomodoro technique which is an effective strategy to increase productivity. The Pomodoro technique involves breaking a task into a twenty-five minute block. When an individual uses the technique, it is pretty easy to avoid procrastination through optimizing the available time.