How To Get Stuff Done

Create your own panic monster.

In one of the most watched Ted Talks of all time, Inside the mind of a master procrastinator, Tim Urban shares his experience doing what he does best: procrastinating.

Until there’s a real world consequence, usually when he has to show his work to others, the task doesn’t get done.

Although consequences sound about as enticing as a whisper from a dark alleyway, if you find yourself provoked by procrastination a real world impact serves as a structure to help you get stuff done.

What does that look like in practice?

An answer you can’t expect to get without a bit of personal experience, but here are some ideas.

External Accountability

Telling a friend about a goal and asking them to ask you about it in a week, or setting up a meeting with your manager / peer to get feedback on your work. This creates a level of commitment that’s hard to back out of.

Internal Accountability

In tandem with the above, put deadlines along with blocks of time on your calendar to work on the task. If calendars aren’t your thing, use a piece of paper next to your bathroom sink, change your lock screen, whatever will make the goal visible to you. And if you feel it’s necessary outline: If I don’t complete my goal by X I lose X. If I complete my goal by X I get X.

As your self imposed deadlines and consequences approach, the panic monster becomes more of a friend. Helping you get stuff done when motivation is scarcer than a snow free Utah spring day.

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