E33 – Itamar Shatz / Procrastination Solver

Procrastination is the great enemy of our productivity. The truth is, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of a project or task, which leads us to put it off to avoid failure or anxiety. Ph.D. candidate and productivity expert Itamar Shatz shares his one big tip for avoiding procrastination and getting big projects done.

Procrastination Is Emotional

Most of us suffer from the allure of procrastination in one way or another. Through his studies, Itamar has worked to link the human psyche to the ritual of procrastination. What makes us put projects off until the last minute?

Itamar attributes this link to emotion. “People procrastinate because they have a fear of failure or because they're anxious or because they're tired,” he says. “It's not just an issue of managing time, but it's also an issue of managing emotions.”

Three Steps to Avoid Procrastination

Understanding this connection between emotion and procrastination, Itamar has built a brand around helping people approach projects in a way that is far more manageable. His One Big Tip is to follow these three major steps before trying to start a project:

  1. Remember that you can break apart tasks as much as you want.
    You can divide a project into a few large tasks or many smaller ones. But the general rule of thumb is to try to make every task small enough to complete in a single sitting. “It could take five minutes or maybe an hour, but not nothing that you have to pause in the middle. That way you always know you can finish it as soon as you sit down.”
  2. Start with a very small step.
    One of the major hurdles that you need to overcome when starting a project is just that, getting started. Taking one of the smaller steps and making it the first thing you do helps overcome that hurdle and take that first step toward completion. Plus, once you’ve done one task, no matter how small, you’re far more likely to be motivated to see the entire project through.
  3. Remember that you don't have to outline the entire thing from the beginning.
    Basically, you don’t have to list out every single task you’ll need to complete for the project from the getgo. For one, it will likely feel overwhelming. But it’s also “very, very hard to plan the ending when you're just the beginning,” Itamar explains.

If you would like to learn more about sweeping aside procrastination and increasing your productivity, you can visit Itamar’s website at solvingprocrastination.com. You can use the contact page to ask him any questions you may have about taking the first step toward better work.