Thank God It’s Monday #001 — “A magic dwells in each beginning …” (so does the urge to procrastinate)

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#mondaythoughts: “A magic dwells in each beginning …” (so does the urge to procrastinate)

#mondaythoughts is Flow Lab co-founder Jonas’ column about the things he can’t keep to himself


Writing a column for our new community newsletter? A great idea – at least that’s what I thought when the team suggested it. But now, that the time has come to actually write the very first issue, I find myself staring at the empty Google Doc, hesitant, not knowing where to begin. Maybe I’ll do a little more research first, I think. But then, before you know it, I give in to my go-to knee-jerk reaction and seek refuge in the merry-go-round of YouTube’s basketball highlight videos.
That’s how about 90% of my working days used to look like. I’m a real procrastination genius –  highly adept at finding reasons to put things off while tasks keep piling up and deadlines keep coming closer. But thankfully over time, my inner voice called ‘remorse’ kept getting louder too. And a guilty conscience is one thing but studies show that unfinished tasks also rob us of our holy sleep – even on weekends! So I decided to use this opportunity to help you not go down my road and share 3 simple tips that helped me avoid (involuntary) procrastination and dedicate more time to the things that are really important to me.
1. Be mindful of time
Apparently, we lose about 67% of working hours to distractions. Just knowing this, helped me be more mindful of all the sneaky habits that draw my attention away from my current task. And I learned that all these impulses – be it mental (e.g., worry), emotional (e.g., anxiety) or our basic human needs (e.g., hunger) – have their right to exist. But in any given situation, some are more helpful than others. To support this realization, it may help to simply start observing and even tracking how much time you spend procrastinating involuntarily because you give in to these impulses. And maybe you could use this time later for a conscious, voluntary YouTube binge – but without regrets.
2. Make it easier to do and harder to stop
Make sure you have enough water ready and get your work station set up so that you can get right to work and have fewer reasons to get up and distract yourself. You may also want to protect yourself from your “future self’s” mindless browsing and social media escapes by installing browser plugins that block your most “dangerous” websites.
3. Set small daily goals
A task whose end is not in sight can quickly become overwhelming. And let’s be honest – we just love ticking off items on our to-do lists, don’t we? So set small, measurable goals for each day to keep track of your progress. There are numerous different approaches to goal setting and task planning. The ⅗ rule for example works very well for me personally. Go ahead and try it out yourself. Right now, when you’re done reading, is the best time to get started!

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Our Reading Tip
Staying on the topic of procrastination, I enjoyed this article by my friend Hans Pagel very much. He is a developer from Berlin who has built some great digital products like Scrumpy, Workeer and Mouseless over the past years. In his blog post “Overcoming Artificial Limits”, he discusses the convenient reasons we like to tell ourselves why we can’t start a new project.
“There are a lot of reasons to not start something. You may think that you are in a special situation. You don’t have money, time and you lack the skills that one needs to make something impactful. It’s clearly impossible to build something good. You know what? I have good news for you. That doesn’t mean you can’t build something cool. Everyone that started something successful had enough reasons to not start it too, just like you. It’s up to you what you do about those reasons.”
Read the article →