What Beating Procrastination Looks Like

Before we go any further, we have to answer another question. What does it mean to beat procrastination? So we don’t want to be procrastinating but what will we be doing instead? Near al tells the story in his book in distractible of asking his daughter, if you had one superpower, what would it be? Her answer? He doesn’t know. He let his phone steal his attention for getting to pay attention to his daughter right in front of them. He says I had just blown a magical moment with my daughter because something on my phone had grabbed my attention. So how would near a y’all answer that question? He says his one superpower is to be in distractible he says being in distractible is the power of doing what you intend to do. And he calls this the most important skill for the 21st century. Because think about it, there are two types of actions we can all take. He calls them traction, and distraction. traction is any action that moves you toward what you want, like sitting down to work, going to the gym, eating that bowl of broccoli. Distraction is any action that moves you away from what you really want, like checking Facebook while you meant to work, watching Netflix while you meant to go to the gym, or eating a brownie when you meant to eat broccoli. And he says the most important skill of the 21st century is becoming in distractible, which is the skill of doing what you intend to do of living more in traction and less in distraction. Just imagine this imagine you have a beautiful castle in the French countryside. It’s five acres big and has a gate all around it. Now imagine someone comes to your castle and tries to steal it from you. They say give me the castle, or they try sneaking in through the backdoor. Let me ask you, you do anything to protect that castle, wouldn’t you? Now imagine you actually do have a beautiful castle. It’s not made of bricks and stones. It’s made of time someone tries to steal it from you. You’d still do anything to protect that castle, wouldn’t you? I’m sure you’d say yes, but most of us don’t. Roman philosopher Seneca wrote 2000 years ago in his book on the shortness of life, that people are frugal in guarding their personal property. But as soon as it comes to squandering time, they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy. And what about you think about all the ways people steal your time, think about all the time you’d like to spend doing things. But just don’t think about all the things you say are important to you working out spending time with family visiting your parents, and how little time you spend on what’s important. Connor Neil says in a great TED Talk called the discipline of finishing that the world is full of good intentions. But the way you see if an executive really is behind an initiative, you open their diary, and you count the hours. In other words, the way to see if something is important to you has nothing to do with what you say is important to you. The way to see if something is important to you is to see where your resources flow, you say your parents are important to you open your diary and count the hours you say raising great kids is important you open your diary and count the hours. The point is that we have all these things that we say are important to us. But if I were to come to you and say open your diary and count the hours, how many of those things did you truly devote time to the last week, and how many of them were stolen from you by distractions that added little or nothing to your life? The goal is to get to a point that if we were sitting over lunch, and I said Show me your calendar of how you spent your time. And then I asked you does it reflect what’s important to you? Does it reflect your values? You’d be able to say? Yes. So why do I share all this with you? Because most people think that if you want to be procrastination, that means you shouldn’t spend any more time on Facebook or Instagram or playing video games. But that’s not true at all. What I want you to understand and what nearly all told me in a conversation we had together is that traction, or what we’ll call a beating procrastination doesn’t mean you don’t do those things anymore. Not at all. It only means that you’ve scheduled time for them and do them when you choose to do them, instead of doing them when they’re distracting you from something else. So what does it mean to be procrastination? It doesn’t mean that you become a machine that only works, eats and works out? No. It means you set clear intentions of what you’d like to do beforehand, could be to work on a project to work out to go on Facebook, and then you follow through on doing those things. It means you make a plan and then you don’t let those feelings of discovery You want to escape from do something completely unrelated to that plan. We’ll start covering how to do this now. But I wanted to make sure we were on the same page of what it means to be procrastination. I’m sure you can tell me now. Right? It means that you do what you say you’re going to do. Or in the words of Greek philosopher Epictetus, he said, it’s so simple, really. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you took nothing else from this class, except to write that simple sentence down, tape it on your mirror, read it every morning and live by it, your life would completely change. It’s so simple, really. If you say you’re going to do something, do it.