“How is the collaboration with « Francis » going? ” I asked “John » my friend.
« Well we have a meeting this afternoon, we couldn’t meet online since the last time ». He replied.
“What about articles you were in charge of. Did you make any progress in between?” I continued
« NO! I tried but I couldn’t.” In my latest session, it felt like my mind was screaming. Other tasks I haven’t done throughout the day blared as if they were coming through a hi-fi in my mind. , so I took half a day OFF to get them done first.”
« You are right !” I nodded. This was a great move .
What is the problem? Attention capacity
When it comes down to building an organizational system in a cohesive and progressive way, We learned that our first move should be to define our strategy. Afterward the second should be to set up Deep work sessions to process priorities n°1.
However, there is plenty of other stuff going on in our life which impacts how we feel. So when you are still in a process of building your system, you won’t be able to achieve meaningful work during deep work sessions unless the mundane is addressed.
Lesson 1: Don’t neglect to allocate time for anything that doesn’t belong to priorities number 1
You need to maintain a minimum threshold of productivity for priorities 2 and 3. Otherwise, Urgencies will come up and will become them your number 1 concern. That will shake up the stability of the entire organizational system you have been building.
Lesson 2: You should aim to be “good enough” at anything that doesn’t belong to priorities number 1.
That’s where things become very difficult especially if you are a perfectionist. Anytime you get something done, there is an immediate sense of satisfaction. Consequently, as chronic procrastinators, we tend to spend too much time overthinking, over agonizing details. This looks good at the moment, but that’s a waste of energy.
For example, Instead of rereading an email 3 times before you send, you reread this 10 times. This energy could have been better invested in deep work sessions.
Solution: Define predefined time slots for small priorities
Step 1: Set up “average work sessions“
Which parts of your schedule are still opened when you take out “deep work sessions” and “meetings with others”? Place “Average sessions” in between. The difficult part isn’t in choosing suitable time slots, but in building the habit of following the rules when it comes down to it. So spend at least 1 week to trigger this habit.
Average session conditions:
Multitasking is authorized: a limited number of simultaneous tasks
The low level of concentration is required: some visuals or noise
Step 2: Establish “improvisation sessions”
There will always be going to be unexpected events in your day. It’s a big mistake to fill out your whole schedule. Some of them have to stay empty. So define “Improvisation sessions” where you rely exclusively on your reflexes. This allows a buffer for :
1/Capturing opportunities that come on your way (Be proactive)
2/Satisfying unexpected requests you are asked (Be reactive)
3/Daydreaming (Be passive)
To increase your ability to do the right things unconsciously when things change, practice Sport &/or Meditation
Step 3: build tools to always be “to ready to go”
Technique 1: How to be ready to produce ” good enough work” even if You are afraid of getting criticized?
Accept the possibility you are going to fail (do it as soon as your inner voice produces worries)
The principle is simple. You repeat out loud that you are going to fail, and you mention accurately why you think you will be perceived as stupid
Now that you have accepted the consequences of failure as a possibility, Fear and Shame become powerless temporarily. This will remove a massive burden off your shoulders in less than 5 min. It will allow you to engage in doing the work and leave Instead of agonizing over every detail.
“I accept that I will be perceived as an imposter at the next meeting because I won’t have answers for all questions”
“I accept that I won’t be perceived as Smart in the classroom because I won’t get all homework done”
Technique 2: How to boost your self quickly?
PS: Software that helps to be disciplined when working alone. It would be great if you could take 3 min of your precious time to fill out this survey (8 questions on one page). .
Heudou Tchihikou Aubin
A master chronic procrastinator who chose to execute on his dreams because of frustration and self-criticism