This single magic technique solves procrastination AND keeps you aligned with your goals
The BEST technique to Avoid Procrastination and stay on course
What if I told you that there is a magic tool that big corporations use, that makes their planning rock-solid?
That you could use it for yourself and avoid procrastination and burn-out?
A big reason for procrastination is the feeling of being lost
According to the Nobel Winning Author Daniel Kahneman, we have 2 systems.
System 1 is the impulsive self. Short term thinker, survivorship-focused.
See a lion? Run. That’s system 1.
System 2 is the long-term thinker. When you think of a chess move, a complex math problem: System 2 is in charge.
All good. How does this relate with procrastination?
When you procrastinate, your system 1 is in control: you are avoiding the instant pain and hardship for the long-term benefits that your work will bring.
Watching Netflix is instant happiness. Passing that certification exam is in the future.
System 1 is your inner toddler.
And it throws tantrums like a champ.
System 1 shuts up the wise and sage System 2 for the thrill of instant gratification.
So what do we do to avoid being a slave of System 1?
Our long-term goals badly need System 2. Want to lose weight? System 1 will want you eat that chocolate for the survival.
Day after day fighting in the trenches, we lose contact with our long term goals. When we do, System 2 can no longer suppress System 1’s constant need for serotonin by Netflix.
Only if there was a system to keep our contact with the long term goals…
Wait, there is one!
What’s a KANBAN?
Wikipedia defines it as
“Kanban (看板) (signboard or billboard in Japanese) is a scheduling system for lean manufacturing and just-in-time manufacturing (JIT). Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota, developed kanban to improve manufacturing efficiency.
Hail to the master, Taiichi Ohno!
Kanban is really popular in Agile Project Management with small teams.
Tasks are written onto post-it notes.
At the outset of the week, all post it notes are under “to-do”. When you start a task, you take it from To-Do and add it to Doing.
How do you use a personal Kanban?
You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company or a team to use Kanban.
In fact you can use it in your daily life in many ways.
I use it for my weekly tasks: every week I write my tasks on post-its and I move it around during the week. Running house chores? On the board. Writing this article? On the board.
Nothing compares to the pleasure of taking a sticker from Doing and putting it to done.
How’s that relevant to my goals?
I use 2 boards: Board #1 is a normal board for goals with priorities. Looks like the following:
And then Board #2 has my weekly tasks.
Board #2 is a very welcoming board. Every ambitious task can make its way through.
I have only one rule
Every task that enters has to directly relate to a goal on Board #1.
You can ensure that by having the goals and associated weekly tasks from the same color of post-its. (or labels, on trello as in the picture)
Why is this significant?
It ensures that any task I am doing is part of a bigger project. I’m never deviated from the big picture.
You can check your progress at anytime. You can have a look at your week and count your successes.
How does this help on procrastinating?
This makes sure that I always work on what matters. When I procrastinate, I procrastinate towards my goals and it is always managed.
Sometimes I need a diversion. Then I look at what’s on my list and select a positive procrastination (i.e – make a 10-min work out, watch a video on article-writing etc.)
We procrastinate often when we are disconnected from our goals.
We are fighting in the trenches, but we don’t see the big picture.
Then we end up working to much on unimportant stuff. And even if we work on important stuff, we don’t know that we did.
Personal Kanban is a great way to connect back to the bird-view from the trenches.
OK, I’m sold. What do I do now?
Not ready to commit buying the board yet? No problem.
Go start 2 Kanban boards on trello: it is completely free.
1) Your goals with 3 lists: priority 1, priority 2, priority 3. Write your goals and shuffle according to the priority.
2) Your weekly tasks
Create 3 lists: To-Do, Doing, Done.
Before the start of each week, put all your tasks you plan for the week ahead.
They should all be linked to a goal. If not and is important, add a relevant goal.
When you start working on a task move it to “In Progress”.When you finish a task, move it to “Done”. My current week looks like below (ignore the numbers):