How are some people just getting things done? How do they stick to their plans, how do they just sit down and study or work?
For people who are prone to procrastinating, this seems inconceivable.
Well, someone asked this question on reddit about a year ago, and I loved the top answer:
“I am always trying to hook future me up so life can be a bit easier rather than a constant slog. If I get stuff done now then I can relax a bit more in the future and that really makes me motivated to keep pushing.”
I think that’s great advice if you can’t get yourself to do what you know you should do.
The philosophy of working hard now to have it easier later makes sense to me, intuitively. This is what I do naturally when playing video games – in RPGs, I want to be well prepared, I will take enough time to grind with easy monsters and level up before I fight the boss.
Well, life is not too different.
Of course there’s nothing you could do to get a “god mode cheat” for life that guarantees success. There will never be a point where everything runs smoothly, no matter how much you prepare. And I’m not a proponent of sacrificing your health and happiness now for a possible better future (like people who work themselves to death in a career they hate – what for? So they can buy a bigger house when they’re 70?)
But here’s what you’ll probably realize if you do the hard stuff now: Doing the hard stuff actually feels good (somewhat). At least you’ll feel better after a healthy meal and a short workout as opposed to binge-watching Netflix with Ben & Jerry’s all day.
And yes, you will drastically improve your odds of living a good and healthy life by doing the right things now.
If you still can’t do what you know you should do, don’t be too hard on yourself.
I sometimes fall into this trap of “why bother”, too. Everything takes longer than expected, everything is hard and annoying. After solving this problem, the next one just waits around the corner. So why even start? I could just sit on the couch and watch TV, that’s always easier and more comfortable.
Your willpower is a finite resource, and motivation alone won’t get you there (you’ll need to build habits to make it automatic, this way you won’t need to rely on willpower anymore).
Also, some people have it harder – conscientiousness and the ability to forego immediate pleasure are, to a large extent, based on your genes and upbringing. People with ADHD struggle with executive function, and it’ll be much harder. But it’s still something all of us can train, like a muscle.
If you still can’t start, here are a few pointers that I think can work:
- Start small: Breaking down large tasks into bite sizes helps
- Just take it one step at a time, focus on just the next to-do or time block (I work in 50-minute bursts, it’s called Pomodoro)
- Reward your progress with breaks and snacks
- Eliminate distractions. If you keep on distracting yourself anyway, do something semi-useful like cleaning your room or working out instead of e.g. mindlessly browsing the internet
😴 What might help you find calm
Intentional ASMR Picks:
- Pretty basic roleplay, but I enjoyed it: YoungPrince cleaning your shoes (with nice spraying and cleaning sounds)
- Check out April’s ASMR for some slow & sensitive triggers
- From our last vacation in France, here’s some calm outdoor cooking with my girlfriend
- Peace and Saraity made a lovely 1960s Tupperware Party roleplay with authentic props and catalogues – I liked it!
Unintentional ASMR Picks:
- Satisfying (and tasty looking) American Street Food cooking ASMR on Travel Thirsty
- Adam Savage talking about Mythbuster blueprints (love the paper sounds and his voice)
- This was relaxing: A very elegant & hypnotic Baccarat dealer as I played a bit of online Casino late at night
- I loved the room inspection sounds and old British accents in this 1984 Sherlock Holmes TV series with Jeremy Brett (so I made a compilation of my favorite moments)