- File Size: 1013 KB
- Print Length: 158 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Oldtown Publishing LLC (August 4, 2017)
- Publication Date: August 4, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0742KRKDG
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
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How to Stop Procrastinating: A Simple Guide to Mastering Difficult Tasks and Breaking the Procrastination Habit Kindle Edition
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It's down to earth, extremely detailed, well written, full of stories that make the tips memorable and, most importantly in my opinion, written from experience.
S.J. was a procrastinator and now is a productivity machine, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. He has the relevant experience to write a book about the anti-procrastination habit.
There are two main cons of this book, and one minor one. All of them were hard to avoid, and quite probably fixing them could ruin the book, so take them with a pinch of salt.
1. Habits Framework.
S.J., unfortunately for his readers, is an expert in habits development. "Unfortunately," because he suffers from the expert's affliction called "expert's blind spot." He takes for granted that the readers of this book know quite a lot about habits development.
He doesn't dwell over details like cue, routine, endpoint, tracking, measuring, growing streaks and so on. All those elements are included in the book, but they are easy to decode only for another habits expert.
However, most of the people have no clue at all about habits development. I know that for a fact, because I answered over 200 questions about habits on Quora in the last 18 months. Those "better educated" still think that 21 or 30 days is enough to develop a habit; those uneducated? *Sigh.*
I have a quick fix for anybody interested: take a free and quick Tiny Habits course first. Google it.
2. Personal Development Fallacy.
S.J. Scott recommends questions to his readers as the foremost tool for improving one's productivity. I found about 10 times in the book the phrase "ask yourself," and it applied to more than 10 questions because often, several at a time were enumerated.
Don't get me wrong. I love asking myself questions. I consider it the foundation of personal growth. In the last four years, I asked myself over 1,000 questions during my morning journaling sessions.
However, an average person doesn't have this skill. The author encourages, even insists (and I agree with him) that you should develop a habit of self-examination to effectively fight off procrastination. But he doesn't say how you can do that.
Most people have no idea how to question themselves on a daily basis. Everyone is familiar with self-doubts, but not with self-examination. If the opposite would be true, we would have enjoyed a happy and prosperous society of people who learn quickly from their mistakes and improve steadily. Meanwhile, most of us struggle with all kinds of difficulties all the time, and those difficulties repeat and repeat. And procrastination is at the beginning of plenty of those struggles.
My advice: start to journal and/or meditate daily; set a reminder for 5 times a day and then take out the current "daily question" that absorbs you and answer it; make reflection on specific question(s) a part of your routine: do it while brushing your teeth, driving to work, or walking from a train station to the office.
Only with such a toolkit will you be able to leverage this book's wisdom.
You can get overwhelmed by the number of advice S.J. showers on you. To his credit, he breaks everything down to the molecules and laid specific plans for every phase of your battle with procrastination, so you can start immediately and take a scalable, sustainable action.
My complaining here is a bit overboard: the author simply packed so much in such a short book that I felt my brain could explode. "The Anti-Procrastination Habit" is so full of hacks, tips, tools and methods that this may easily be overwhelming, especially nowadays, when attention span is so short and ability to focus so rare. Ha, those are not minor contributors to procrastination's ubiquity.
I developed dozens of daily habits in the last few years; I coached dozens of people on how to develop habits. I taught countless others online how to do that and how to develop mindfulness habits. I meditate, journal, and ask myself questions habitually; I love to learn. I had no problem in absorbing the book's message. I just say, it may be much harder for someone less thoroughly immersed in personal development.
I don't know if S.J. Scott could've avoided any of the above pitfalls. As usual, he wrote a book dedicated to one narrow specific topic, and he covered this topic in amazing depth. Covering the broad aspects of habits development or personal development would have unavoidably made his core anti-procrastination message murky.
The perceived "cons" also make the book's best pros. Moreover, there is plenty of more good stuff in there.
First of all, big kudos for the author for pointing out the elephant in the room: procrastination is a habit, and it can only be fought off with better habits.
S.J. Scott has named dozens and dozens of daily practices you can use to handle your life more effectively. I nitpicked on not approaching the habits subject holistically, but he smuggled many habit development gems in the book: how to design them, how to support them with your existing habits, how to not overwhelm yourself, and so on. A diligent student can read a lot about creating good habits between the lines.
They are awesome! I already went over 1,000 questions of this kind, but I still found plenty new to enjoy myself. :D
I approach self-analysis very seriously, so I know I will be using questions from this book for a few weeks ahead.
S.J. Scott made an amazing job of explaining the procrastination background in human life. He did an even better job of pointing out how procrastination is not a potential disaster, but a disaster that is already pressing you, and only a tiny event can release its full wrath. The story about his father neglecting his health check was brilliant.
"The Anti-Procrastination Habit" will arm you first with the powerful reasons to upgrade your life and routine, and such a motivation can spring you up to action.
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn
4. Road Maps, Plans and Bullet Points.
I complained about the volume of content compressed into such a light book, but this content is painstakingly broken down into bits and pieces. Everything is laid out in logical points. Every step is clear. Every piece leads logically to another one.
The book presents the ultimate productivity process, and it's yours to learn and apply.
The best part is the simplified step-by-step action plan summarizing the book that will allow you to start exactly where you are and move forward, gaining momentum.
I've been following this author from almost the very beginning, and I'm impressed how he advanced as a writer. This book is really well written and captivating, despite the fact it's created in textbook style. He very skillfully mixes specific lessons and guidelines with stories from his life or scientific research conclusions.
By the way, S.J. is a practitioner of what he preaches, and I consider this to be one of the strongest points of the book. His experience simply shines through the pages. He applied everything in his life. Theoretical ruminations are cut to the bone. This is no-nonsense advice: do this, then do this, and after do that.
And this gives him four times a better chance to teach you anti-procrastination than chances of folks with big credentials, but little experience (this is a conclusion of Coach.me data-driven analysis).
6. Anecdotes and Personal Tidbits.
I've been reading Scott’s books for years, and he still manages to surprise me with some personal stories that are highly relevant to his books' subjects. You should read the "The Anti-Procrastination Habit" only to discover what was a "stupidity tax" he needed to pay, and why doing the dishes is quite an enjoyable activity for him.
After reading the book, I have one additional piece of advice from me: make the battle with procrastination a lifelong pursuit. You will never be "done with procrastination."
Yes, you can get overwhelmed with the amount of content and advice showered by the author. But if you implement his tips one by one and never quit, you WILL get better. It's just a matter of time.
"The Anti-Procrastination Habit" absolutely doesn't disappoint. It's another solid point in S.J. Scott's catalogue of habits books.
My rating of a solid 4.5, however, Amazon doesn't allow for such a gradation. Thus, 5 stars from me, because I simply love this guy's work. If anything, he is just too good for his own good. ;)
Steve Scott, who is known for creating content that is actionable, doesn’t waste the readers’ time when he dives right into the action tasks we can implement right away to kick procrastination out of our lives once and for all. As I was reading this book I had to take notes, which I rarely do when reading, because there is a lot of tasks and tips for saving time, avoiding distractions, and focusing on the 80/20 that I wanted to start using right away.
The book kicks off with an explanation of the reasons why people procrastinate. Grasping these reasons gives us greater leverage to recognize procrastination when it’s happening. There is reference to the GTD material by David Allen that serves as a comparison to the Anti-Procrastination Method Steve describes throughout the book. But as we learn, GTD isn’t for everybody, especially if you are already struggling with procrastination. It is hard to take action and get organized when dealing with overwhelm and mental paralysis from all the things occupying your attention. This is where the Anti Procrastination Habit comes in.
I like the approach Steve takes from the beginning by asking readers to “Just focus on the items that you have the ability and capacity to do from today until one year from now.” This cuts out a lot of the stuff we get pulled into that wastes time and energy, two vital components needed for combating procrastination.
Steve provides a framework for dealing with procrastination that he gets into at the 1/3 mark by asking readers to “Focus on 5 Core Projects.” Having been through this exercise, I can say that it is the core foundation of the book that makes reading this all the worthwhile. From here, we learn about the 25-5 rule and identifying core values that make up our belief system. Just for reference, this rule gets you to write down 25 projects you have in your life that matter…then cut out 20 of them and focus on just 5.
The Anti-Procrastination system here is really well explained and organized. Steve walks you through how to choose the five core projects in line with your values, and how to stay focused on just these five projects while ignoring all of the other noise [aka those other 20 things that are not important right now]. There is a part on SMART goals that serves as a great reminder of who to set these up and stick with your goals through weekly reviews.
One of the core philosophies behind the Anti-Procrastination method is to identify a few core activities in your life, singularly focus on them, and eliminate everything else. This frees up your time so you are not procrastinating on what is really important. But the question that the system answers is: “How do I stay focused, balanced, and productive with all of the daily little stuff that gets in the way?”
This is where the “Big Rock Theory” comes in. If you don’t know what that is, it is worth it to read and find out. You’ll have a greater grip on the big 5 you should focus on without getting pulled away by the little stuff.
Moving into the last part of the book there are some great tactics here for staying on course. They are:
1. Block out time on a calendar for commitments, hobbies, thinking time, meetings and spending time with friends or family.
2. Practice batching and create theme days.
3. Set aside time for deep work [check out Cal Newport’s book of the same name]
4. Plan your weekly schedule
Finally…my favorite part. We finish the book with “14 daily practices to end procrastination.” These practices are discussed as:
1. Resolve Any Potential Emergency
2. Do a 5- to 10-Minute Daily Review
3. Focus On Your MITs
4. Eat the Frog
5. Use the Eisenhower Matrix to Make Quick Decisions
6. Complete Quick Tasks Immediately
7. Create a Mini Habit for Challenging Tasks
8. Build Elephant Habits for Ongoing Projects
9. Use Sprints to Work On Challenging Projects
10. Build the Discomfort Habit
11. Remove Hidden Blocks with the Awareness Habit
12. Bundle Rewards with Actions
13. Attach All Tasks to a Goal
14. Create Accountability for Your Tasks
The bottom line with this book is this: if you struggle with procrastination and you feel like you’re stuck like I was, the solution is in the Anti-Procrastination Habit system. I’ve started using it and I’ve already taken action on tasks I was putting off for years. I just needed a solid, straight forward system to help out and explain why I was feeling overwhelmed.