ARISE: meet your 9 procrastinator demons

...and beat them to get yourself into motion!

There is a battle in your head every single day: your lizard brain and your rational self fight each other - if you are reading this instead of working, you know what I’m talking about. Strangely they both want to help You. Why the conflict then?

Our ancient lizard brain was in charge for a very long time and hence it is brutally powerful. Its impulsiveness was necessary for survival. But times have changed: these days we rather need the genius of the rational mind to thrive. The lizard guards the status quo and when opportunity comes, it unleashes its warriors. These warriors are your new demons - they block your progress. But do you recognize these new enemies?

It's time to face them.

“The loveliest trick of the Devil is to persuade you that he does not exist.”

― Charles Baudelaire

Wishful thinker

THE CAUSE

When you begin to focus on the circumstances, you tend to see more and more suboptimal elements and finally convince yourself to skip the opportunity in favor of a hopefully much brighter future. It’s a well known cognitive bias: we predict positive outcomes to be more likely than negative outcomes.

ITS LIE

Tomorrow/next week/next year will be perfect or at least much better than the present situation. No need to hurry, you won’t loose anything if you do it later.

THE TRUTH

Tomorrow/next week/next year is going to be as chaotic and random as today. And yes, you DO lose a lot by postponing: the cost of potential opportunities you are missing.

ANTIDOTE

Reality check on what can go wrong in the future and keep opportunity cost in mind.

CASE STUDY

Ate too much for breakfast. Got a headache. It's raining. The weather is too good. My dog is sick. I've got a headache. It’s too dark. It’s too cold. My blister hurts. I didn't get enough sleep. My tummy hurts.
Mind chatter: “I’ll do it later, tomorrow seems perfect for this!”

Intimidator

THE CAUSE

Fear. The task would put you outside of your comfort zone and this scares the sh*t out of you - plain and simple. Fight or flight? Hint: the lizard brain is a born aviator.

ITS LIE

The consequences of your action will be horrific, end of the world, you'll remain in shame F-O-R-E-V-E-R.

THE TRUTH

The consequences might be unpleasant but far not as bad as you think.

ANTIDOTE

Calculate the real risk objectively and set a plan for the worst case scenario.

CASE STUDY

Cold call, pitch, public speaking, asking a favor, confessing a lie, etc.
Mind chatter: “I shouldn’t do this, this can end my fragile life!”

Stigmatizer

THE CAUSE

The task has been staying on your list for too long and because you had skipped it several times, it got stigmatized. You’ve long forgotten the real difficulty but a mystic - and fearful - coat covered it. It slowly became a symbol of your unwanted self and as such, you want to avoid it.

ITS LIE

This task is difficult, there must be a reason why it’s on my todo list for so long!

THE TRUTH

You've skipped it several times which means it's not super interesting to do - but most of the time, it's just a simple and easy step. It’s been on your list for so long because a. you are a lazy dude b. you wrote it down too early c. you overestimated your capacity and wrote a huge effin' list. That item on your list is probably not hard at all - just got stigmatized.

ANTIDOTE

A quick 5 minute sprint with a precise tiny first step.

CASE STUDY

Not specific. Usually simple but boring tasks that are not too important. They often appear in companion with the deadboring demon.
Mind chatter: ”Oh dear, you again? Ok, let's see a task with greater priority and I'll get back to you little sucker when I'm finished.”

Elusive

THE CAUSE

It appears when the end goal or the next milestone is fuzzy and you don't see necessary steps to reach it - you basically don’t know what you want to reach.

ITS LIE

You should stay idle until you see the exact path, otherwise you'd fail miserably.

THE TRUTH

You haven’t indicated the end goal and the necessary steps - most importantly the first tiny one - and it seems blurry. You may not know the exact direction, but movement clarifies the path.

ANTIDOTE

Setting the specific milestones and end goal and also the necessary next steps according to your best knowledge. Embrace the fact that you lose more by standing still than by taking a first - potentially imperfect - step.

CASE STUDY

You decide to lose weight but without a precise goal, limits and expectations.
Mind chatter: “Ok, let’s lose some weight. And the first step towards “some” is… Well… Dunno, I should have some snacks for inspiration…”

Gigantic

THE CAUSE

The project ahead is so enormous, you sh.t your pants just looking at it. Goliath also seemed huge to David...

ITS LIE

Ehh, it’s HUGE, I don’t even try to tackle it, I have no chance, not a single one!

THE TRUTH

It might be big but you can tackle anything piece by piece. You can eat an elephant - one bite at a time.

ANTIDOTE

Chunking the giant into digestible parts and serving yourself the first tiny bite.

CASE STUDY

Learning a foreign language.
Mind chatter: ”Chinese? Are you kidding me? Thousands of alien characters, wtf grammar and the crazy pronunciation... meh!" (hint: there are 2 billion living people who have learned it)

Resourceless

THE CAUSE

Lack of an essential energy resource: sleep, food, fun etc.

ITS LIE

You are low on energy but hey, let’s start fiddling with something and a magical power will refuel you.

THE TRUTH

You are low on energy and no magical power will refuel you. You have to refuel yourself. Fiddling sucks. Refuel as soon as possible.

ANTIDOTE

Get out of the zombie state asap by refueling yourself as quickly and as effectively as possible.

CASE STUDY

Sleep deprivation.
Mind chatter: ”I’m tired as hell, but hey, let’s browse some design websites, they’ll inspire the hell out of me and I won’t be able to resist working!”

Someday maybe

THE CAUSE

The lack of a deadline - and usually motivation - makes the task less urgent, lower in priority and there will always be a “better” thing to do.

ITS LIE

You can do it anytime, wooohoo! No need to hurry, you should do other more important and/or fun stuff instead!

THE TRUTH

Someday maybe = probably never.

ANTIDOTE

Deadline spiced up with some juicy stake.

CASE STUDY

Some day I'll go to Bali.

Deadboring

THE CAUSE

You remember that the task ahead bored you to death previously and you have to do it again. It's mind-numbing, lacking any challenge or fun whatsoever.

ITS LIE

This demon is not lying, the task IS probably terribly boring...

THE TRUTH

...but it would probably take less time than you think (you have routine) and you can make it challenging by introducing some fun constraints. Can you shrink it to 5 minutes?

ANTIDOTE

Make a challenge out of it » gamification!

CASE STUDY

Dishwashing, doing the groceries, filing taxes, you name it.
Mind chatter: “This? Again? My brain is melting, no way!”

Last minute junkie

THE CAUSE

There is an adrenaline-rush close to deadlines and it makes you high. It’s a pleasant feeling but the product is usually suboptimal.

ITS LIE

Let’s postpone until the very last minute! It’s gonna be awesome with all the intense focus, razor-sharp attention and a six-pack of energy drinks!

THE TRUTH

It will be intense … You’ll be under huge stress and produce crappy work. No chance of “I’ll sleep on it” iterations. You’ll feel like cr.p after the all-nighter and start your day with -20% IQ points. Nice little handicap for the exam/presentation.

ANTIDOTE

Taking the first tiny step asap and instead of adrenaline, get high on dopamine by achieving micro-successes along the way.

CASE STUDY

Ohh, those good old college exams…
Mind-chatter: “I have plenty of time left, let’s watch the newest season of zombieland!”

There you go, now you know your enemies and their weak spots so theoretically you can destroy them any time.

Or can you?

I’m sorry to say this but you’ll most probably fail after one or two tries, as you did with other anti-procrastination tricks before. Here is why: when procrastination strikes, your mind gets under the influence of your demons and they obviously have no interest in demolishing themselves. Makes sense?

First, you have to realize this, then you can look for the real solution - a solution that is outside of your biased mind…

ARISE gets you out of procrastination hell into productivity heaven in 3 simple steps:

1.

It helps you to identify your current demon

2.

Guides you to kick the blocking demon's arse

3.

Gives an initial dopamine shot with a crazy animated timer