I’ve published more than 500 articles on my blog. And every single time, I had to beat procrastination before I even wrote the first sentence.
Once I wrote the first sentence, the second was easier, the third was even easier than that, and so forth. But it wasn’t always like this; in the past, I never got to the first sentence. I never started. And as a result, I didn’t finish things either.
Since 2015, I’ve been sending out a weekly newsletter. I’ve published 7 books and created 6 online courses. In addition to that, I’ve been writing a new book since 2021, called The Stoic Path to Wealth, which will be published by Portfolio / Penguin on February 27, 2024.
The past 8 years have been the most productive years of my life. I’ve also learned more new things than ever.
Here are 10 of those lessons I’ve learned. I hope they will inspire you to live a productive life.
- There will never be a perfect time for anything—If you’re waiting until a moment when life will be less hectic, I can tell you that moment will never come. Really. Life is always difficult and hectic. When do you have complete serenity? You always have responsibilities. Our job as reliable adults is to deal with those responsibilities and not run away from them. Deal with your tasks head-on. And move on to the next one. Then, just keep moving.
- Beating procrastination is an ongoing process—Getting things done in your life and career is just like going to the gym. If you stop working on your productivity skills, you will automatically become unproductive. You will procrastinate more. Therefore, keep yourself accountable, focus on proven strategies to overcome procrastination, and keep moving forward.
- Knowledge work requires a lot of energy—Most jobs in today’s economy require us to think outside of the box. Jobs are getting more complex. We need multiple skills to perform well. All this requires thinking. And thinking is just as hard as physical work. But we don’t treat it that way. Make sure you don’t strain your brain too much.
- Protect your time—Say no to things that are unimportant. Saying yes to everything is a recipe for a miserable life. Practice saying no every single day. You don’t have to be a party pooper. Simply be more mindful of how you spend your time.
- Enjoy the process—If you always focus on the end goal, you’re never present. And that’s a sure way to become depressed. Life doesn’t happen in the future. It happens NOW. So never forget that you must enjoy today. If today sucks, make today better. Don’t keep hoping that your future will be better. You might not be here anymore.
- Learn how to be more effective—Look, productivity is a skill. And not only that, it’s a skill that you need to sharpen all the time. If I stop reading and learning about productivity, I will procrastinate like a 16-year-old kid who thinks that life is endless. We’re no longer kids. We need to make sure we know how to get the most out of our time. We need to be effective.
- Everything is connected—Beating procrastination and getting work done is connected with everything else in your life: how much you’ve slept, what you ate, who you spent your time with, and how you look at life. That’s why tactics don’t work. You must have a holistic strategy for living a productive life.
- Accountability creates consistency—This can come in many forms. You can register for a class and form an accountability group with students, you can hire a coach, you can publicly announce your work, you can tell your friends and family about what you’re working on. Just don’t expect that people who are not motivated will hold you accountable. We’ve all started new activities with friends who gave up after a month. Find a system that works and doesn’t rely on friends or family. Take your life and career seriously and find people who have the same mindset.
- You will get better each year—Unfortunately, I can’t say you’ll get better every day. Consistently overcoming procrastination takes time. And that’s why most people are inconsistent. You must have patience. We don’t become instant achievers within a day. Knowledge, like making money with investing, compounds over years, not days.
- Beating procrastination improves self-confidence—This is one of the biggest benefits I’ve seen. When you actually do what you say, you will feel better about yourself. You will be a reliable person. Someone who can execute. That gives you a track record. It also says that you’re someone who knows how to achieve something. Not a lot of people can say that.
- We can make everything easier, but we still have to do it
Ultimately, that’s the main lesson I learned about life and work. We have to do it. Saying that you will be a better person is worthless. You must do it.
The same is true for starting a business, finding a new job, getting in shape, or earning more money. The foundation of all achievement is action.
When you consistently beat procrastination and achieve results, you no longer have to prove yourself with words. You don’t need to explain yourself to anyone.
You simply let your results speak for you. That’s the power of overcoming procrastination. Every day, you don’t want to do the work—you want to escape. That’s what millions of people do. But you decide to take a different path.
You wake up and you do the work today. And you do it again tomorrow. And so forth.
All the best, my friend. Talk to you again in the next article.