How I’m Dealing with Procrastination
Welcome to this week’s issue of Sunday Snippets, which is being sent on a Monday 🤭 Even as a “productivity expert” sometimes life gets in the way of the upload / publish schedule. I spend the weekend clearing out my old flat in Cambridge ready to rent it out to a friend, and that ended up taking wayyy longer than initially expected.
Anyway, firstly a huge thank you to everyone who preordered the book last week. Super appreciate it. And if you’ve preordered (or you’re planning to 🙏) please save your receipt – we’re cooking up some amazing bonuses.
Secondly, if you’re in India then I’m delighted to say that the book’s finally available for preorder on Amazon India. It was supposed to be ready last week, but Amazon had some issues on their end, but everything’s all sorted now. Appreciate the patience 🙂
I wanted to share something I explored last week with my therapist.
Here’s the situation I find myself in most days – I sit down to film a video. I’ve got the title, thumbnail and talking points already ready. And I just need to hit record and record the damn thing. But… something holds me back. I feel a sense of… something. A pressure in the chest? A tension in the throat? There’s some sort of feeling that makes pressing the record button feel like a way heavier lift than it needs to be.
If I sit with the feeling, and try to figure out where it’s coming from, I land on thoughts like:
These thoughts and feelings of judgment, self-doubt and ultimately fear make sitting down and filming a video one of the least pleasant things I do in my life. Which is weird, because I do quite enjoy it (once I’m in the flow of it). And because I’ve been doing it for so long (6+ years) and gotten so much positive feedback and validation from the audience that should, in theory, counter the feelings of self-doubt, self-criticism and judgment.
But as with a lot of things, it’s hard to logic ourselves out of an emotional response. So I’m experimenting with different strategies to combat this. One that I’ve found quite helpful is to name the fear – to put a name to the negative feelings that I’m having in the moment. Eg: “Oh right now I’m feeling the pressure build up in my throat, which is probably because I’m afraid that this video isn’t going to be very good and that no one who watches it will get any value from it and therefore I ought not to film it”. Usually describing the feelings like that makes me realise: “Oh wait, that’s not actually true. I’m pretty sure some people will get value from the video. Therefore, I ought to film it”. That usually helps.
Another strategy I find useful is the Alter Ego Method (which I talk about in the book 👀). The idea is that when you find yourself emotionally blocked from doing something you want to do, try to imagine yourself as a different person doing the thing. Beyonce for example, used to have an alter ego / stage name of Sasha Fierce, which she would conjure up in her mind before performing, as a way of getting over her nerves, and as a way of separating her actual self (Beyonce) from her performing self (Sasha). In my case, I try and embody the alter ego of Young Charles Xavier from the X-Men First Class series when I’m about to film. There’s something about imagining myself as a young teacher with a lovely British accent that helps me get over the emotional hurdle to hitting the record button.
Have you ever struggled with emotions that cause you to procrastinate from something you know you want to do? How have you dealt with it? I’d love if you would hit reply and let me know 🙂
Have a great week!
PS: My productivity teacher and friend Tiago Forte is about to release his second book – The PARA Method – for organising all the information in your life. It’s a companion to Building a Second Brain which has been the basis for my personal knowledge management and note-taking systems since 2019. If you’d like to read it along with me on August 15th, check it out here.
♥️ My Favourite Things this Week
- 🎙️ Podcast – I absolutely loved this conversation between Rich Roll and Tim Ferriss on Rich’s podcast. I’ve been following Tim’s stuff for over a decade, and seeing his growth and evolution is hugely interesting and inspiring.
- 📙 Book – I’ve nearly finished listening to the audiobook for The Gift of Fear – Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence. It’s a book written by Gavin de Becker (apparently the “leading expert on violent behaviour”) and it’s about how to spot indicators of violence before it’s too late. Super eye-opening stuff. I came across it through a YouTube rabbit hole where I wanted to learn a martial art for self-defence, but learned that apparently, 90% of self-defence is about recognising threats before they become violent, and apparently this book is a great way to immediately level-up in that department.
- 📒 Everyday Carry Item – I’ve been carrying my small Leuchtturm 1917 notebook with me everywhere I go, and as usual, whenever I do a stint of physical pen-and-paper journaling, I land on insights for my business and my life that I feel I wouldn’t have gotten through the digital alternative. These days, the pen I use is the Atomic Habits Special Edition pen from Baron Fig – I ordered it to check out what James Clear’s physical products look like and was very impressed. But obv, the pen you use doesn’t really make any difference at all. But at the same time, I enjoy discovering new pens 🤷♀️
- 🎒 Bag – I’ve been storing my journal (and 11-inch iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard) in the Peak Design Everyday Sling 6L. It’s the perfect size to carry around everywhere I go, without having to lug around my enormous laptop-and-camera backpack. So if I feel like leaving the house to head to a coffee shop, I usually leave the laptop bag at home and just take the sling with me. Feels much more minimalistic and light.
🎬 My New Videos
🤓 How to Finally Beat Procrastination – Procrastination is actually a major problem, and it’s something that everyone struggles with. So in this video I’m sharing 5 lessons I learned from Tim Pychyl’s amazing book Solving the Procrastination Puzzle.
✍️ Quote of the Week
“All creativity is inspired by other people’s ideas. The faster you embrace that, the more successful you can be as a creative.”