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The Only True Way to Get Rid of Procrastination

How the heck have our “needs” “evolved” so much this century?

Image adapted from: PleatedJeans.com

Are you guilty of having the needs in the image above? Read on. This may help you realign with your true needs!

I don’t like writing about procrastination.

For one, I’m like everyone else and I have things I procrastinate on. I’m only human after all. And two, I’ve read a lot of articles that give good advice, but don’t seem to address the root of the problem. Which means they work only temporarily.

That’s why I don’t write much on the subject:

Procrastination can only be tackled when you address the root of the problem.

How do you find the root of the problem?

Hint: Cats, Social Network, Porn, and Fails are not the root. Boo!

I didn’t feel like I had something strong enough on the subject until recently. Each action you procrastinate on has its own root, but I have found the only way that works for anything you procrastinate on.

And when I say “I”, I don’t claim to have invented these ideas. In fact, I’ll tell you exactly where my references come from. I say “I” because I’ve tried many things, and from experience, these are the only two things that helped me consistently fight procrastination off.

Here goes:


Necessity

Resources:

Picture this:

What does that image tell you? Did that caveman have a choice? Do you think he ever procrastinated hunting?

He hunts or he dies. That’s necessity pushed to the extreme.

In today’s world, it’s hard to imagine something we really NEED to do. But the truth is, we do have needs and we all know about them (again, not cats guys!!). In fact, a lot of them are already taken care of because we live in a society.

Here’s the actual Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs (You knew that right?):

A lot of articles tell you how improving yourself (self-actualization) leads to love, health, wealth and happiness. There’s no denying that it’s true.

But!

Have you taken care of you psychological, safety, belonging and esteem needs first?

Without having the bottom tiers of the pyramid taken care of, it’s extremely hard to find the motivation to do things that count towards the higher tiers.

That caveman basically could only address the bottom two. You think he’d be motivated to focus on the top two? No, right?

Time to get real serious here.

In High Performance Habits, Brendon Burchard and his team have discovered that “raising necessity” is one of the top six habits to become a high performer. High performers don’t procrastinate when they feel like they need to do something, as opposed to simply wanting to do something.

In the same book, he mentions the four forces of necessity:


1. Identity

When I tell people how I deliberately learn 3 new skills every month, I hold myself up to that standard. I don’t want to be seen as someone who’s all talk and no game. It’s not by accident then that I make this public, both online and amongst my peers.

And especially now that I have both my Accountability and SkillUp your Life programs, I don’t have a choice but to show members that I’m really putting in the effort.

“When we do what aligns with our future identity, we are more driven and likely to do a great job.” — Brendon Burchard

Self-reflection:

  • What is your identity?
  • How do you want to be seen?
  • How must people see you?
  • Do your actions match your identity?
  • How can you make them match?

Think about the following two excerpts from the book:

“Set new standards, self-monitor more frequently, and learn to become comfortable with taking a hard unflinching look at your own performance.”

“Sometimes the fastest way to get back in the game is to expect something from yourself again.”

2. Obsession

“There’s no talent here. This is hard work. This is obsession. Talent does not exist.” — Conor McGregor

“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.” — Napoleon Hill

There’s no denying that I obsess over my goals. I tend to have a pretty big list every month. Here are my unedited goals for November:

  • Have PowerLevelStudios.com updated by November 22nd
  • Have Soul Reaper: Unreap Commander’s (UC from now on) steam page updated by November 22nd
  • Have Social Media links in UC by November 15th
  • Create a new trailer for UC by November 22nd
  • Release UC Beta by November 22nd
  • Release UC on Android by November 22nd
  • Find a new name for UC by November 15th
  • Make $100 in UC sales
  • Have 2,000 UC players
  • Have 3 new Accountability for the Accountable People Program (AAPP) sign-ups
  • Have 50 signups for the SkillUp your Life (SUYL) program
  • Make $300 on Medium
  • Get 40k views on Medium
  • Get 2k visitors on DannyForest.com
  • Get an extra 100 email subscribers for my DannyForest.com mailing list

Decades of research from the High Performance Institute involving over forty thousand participants has shown that people who set difficult and specific goals outperform people who set vague and non-challenging goals.

That’s why I like to aim (freaking) high! This has been so true for me in the past year. I never procrastinate doing my productive activities anymore.

Start by putting numbers and dates to your goals. Put them in your calendar. Review them daily, or at least weekly.

I personally review them when I do my weekly planning on Friday.

Self-reflection:

  • What are your goals?
  • Are they specific enough? Are they reasonable?
  • Do you care enough to obsess with accomplishing them?
  • Why? Why not?
  • Do you ever assess your performance on them? How frequently?

“[…] Enjoy doing it so much that [you] don’t feel the need to apologize to others for it. […] Lose hours working at a task or improving a skill, and love it.”

3. Duty

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” — Bob Marley

Do you procrastinate feeding your baby or pet? No. You need to do it. They depend on you. That is powerful — duty towards external forces.

That’s how I feel about my AAPP and my SUYL.

If I’m not there for my members, what’s the point of them even sticking with me. Some members desperately need the change to fulfill their own duty. I have to do everything in my power to help them. Not only because they’re paying me, but because I care. I wouldn’t be doing that otherwise.

As Burchard says: “If you ever feel that you are not performing well, start by asking: Who needs me more right now?”.

Research shows that people tend to maintain motivation and give more effort when they are held accountable for their outcomes. It’s how sports teams, music bands, or any organized groups thrive.

Self-reflection:

  • Who needs you most right now?
  • Why do they need you?
  • Do your goals reflect that?
  • Why? Why not?

4. Urgency

This is one of my favourites and one of the hardest to execute. Real deadlines hardly exist in today’s world. But that caveman from above, he had a real deadline: get food or die. Read your Facebook feed or … seriously, who cares? (but still, do follow me on social media!)

A good example for me is that I promised a free eBook to members of AAPP who stuck to the program for 2 months. I wasn’t sure that would actually happen, but it did — much faster than I anticipated. Last Friday I realized that some members were due to receive the book, but the problem was that it wasn’t even written yet…

Stupid Danny…

That was a real freaking deadline. I had to get that book done because I owed it to my members. So yesterday I sat down at 8:00am after the gym to put the book together. I worked non-stop for 9 hours and produced a well-formatted 515-pages book. Imagine the motivation I had to do it. I was in flow for 9 hours straight and forgot to eat lunch (I had shakes thankfully).

Don’t be stupid like I was, but do try to set your environment up so that time is of the essence.

Self-reflection:

  • What are some real deadlines you have currently?
  • Are they really real deadlines? Are you working on them?
  • Why? Why not?

When you truly believe you HAVE TO do something, procrastination is not even an option.

Apart from the examples above, I must get the Beta of UC done before November 22nd. If I don’t, that means I’ll have to work during my vacation starting on November 24th. And I don’t want that at all because it will be the first time I see my wife again in 4 months because she’s in Congo for work.

But also, the longer I push the deadline, the less money I’ll have to pay my team. I owe them for the work they do and don’t want to miss a payment. They need my A game at all times, or at least until the release of the game.

The next time you find yourself procrastinating, think of the four pillars of necessity above. Think of my examples and see how they apply for you.

If you think your basic needs involve cats, social media, porn or fail videos, think again.

Also, don’t forget to check High Performance Habits out (I’m not getting paid to say that)!


Conclusion

Know your why and raise necessity. That is how you get rid of procrastination.

This works across anything you are procrastinating on. If you continually work towards your burning desire and do things you truly believe are necessary, it’s near-impossible to not do.

Make sure to do the self-reflections I put in both sections. These very questions were the object of my journaling sessions and have deeply raised my own awareness and helped me fight off procrastination. I know they work not only because I’ve tried it for myself, but because both author’s research proves it across a wide variety of people.

Stop thinking of the needs of 2018. Apply the principles from this article and be ready to accomplish more than you could ever dream of! The cats can wait. Finish 2018 the right way!

You can do this!

Originally published at medium.com

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