Tackling Procrastination

We already know that Pomodoro (25 min on / 5 min off) helps fight procrastination and improves learning by alternating focused and diffuse states. There is much more to learn about Procrastination, of course, and we are going to dive in this week in [Coursera’s Learning How To Learn](We already know that Pomodoro (25 min on / 5 min off) helps fight procrastination and improves learning by alternating focused and diffuse states. There is much more to learn about Procrastination, of course, and we are going to dive in this week in Coursera’s Learning How To Learn course.

Why do I care

Well you care because

  1. Procrastination is a really terrible habit to build
  2. Procrastination is like addiction neurologically
  3. Learning is more effective in small pieces across time and is ineffective crammed into short times, which is what you are left with when you procrastinate.
  4. Procrastination causes us to feel stress, from guilt, from looming deadlines, from fear that we have given into, and stress makes it harder to learn, and becomes self-defeating.

And your life looks awesome if you beat procrastination.

  1. Using willpower to combat procrastination takes energy, and so we need to use some jujitsu to avoid even needing willpower to avoid procrastinating. Then we have willpower to spare.
  2. Studying is less stressful if you can incorporate better study habits into your life.

Chunks and Habits

Habits are energy savers, as are chunks when we think about the brain. Habits turn us into brain dead zombies, so we can, say, daydream while we walk.

Habits have 4 parts

  1. The cue - the trigger that turns us into a zombie
  2. The routine - the responses and processes we use when we are a zombie
  3. The reward - habits are made and continue because of rewards
  4. The belief - habits have power because we believe in them

Process versus Product

Overcoming procrastination requires the following. First, accept your negative feelings, and know that it will get better once you get started. Focus on process and not product. Process is a behavior set against the flow of time. Product is the outcome. Process for me is coding for 25 minutes. Product is figuring out how to upload video to a rails project.

Product intimidates and causes bargaining to start. Product is where pain is triggered that causes us to procrastinate.

Process is focused on the moment. Pomodoro is process, a finite moment. The Zombie part of our brains loves process, our bodies are built to grind in small pieces and get in the flow. We can stop meta-thoughts about our progress and the amout of work left, or distractions. By focusing on the process, the time and not the output, we can build a habit and build that wall, brick by brick.

I wish I had this kind of discipline in college when I always saved everything for the last minute.