In order for us to stop fiddling around, being lazy and procrastinating, we must first understand the REASON that causes us to leave things for later. Do you know what is affecting your performance? What are the psychological mechanisms that are causing you to procrastinate?
My name is Seiiti Arata, from Arata Academy, where we have courses on focus and productivity – and as we have already helped thousands of clients worldwide to be more productive, I have created a number of techniques to help you get more efficiency and productivity at work when studying, and also in your personal life.
In today’s free video, I’ll teach you two very powerful techniques to help you stop frittering away. Grab your notebook and a pen to make notes and do some activities.
Before giving you the techniques, I want to explain in a really simple way why we stall. There are several reasons, actually.
We fiddle around when the benefit of doing what has to be done is not clear.
When we don’t have a specific deadline to finish what has to be done, or when the activity seems to be very complicated, very complex.
We stall when there’s no one putting pressure on us.
There are SEVERAL other reasons, and on the two techniques we will see in this video today, we will get rid of the main difficulties. Are you interested in them?
Then take note of technique number one’s name:
DEEP PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS
Deep. Psychological. Benefits. How does that work?
In order to stop faffing about, what I do is I first start to clearly understand the reason why I’m going to do something, and what is the benefit I will have by doing that something. Imagine that I will go to the gym more often, study for an important test or improve my business. I need to have a brainstorm with all the DEEP psychological benefits that happen if I get my hands dirty.
Many of the great deep psychological benefits are secondary consequences of having achieved the primary goal. Therefore, I need to take a moment to reflect and understand what I really want and what are the secondary consequences of doing what has to be done.
I will give you two examples.
The first example is “studying for a test”. I know that if we ask many people “what are the advantages of studying for the test?” they will say “oh, the advantage is to pass the test”. All right, that is the primary benefit, but it is very cold on its own, it hasn’t got emotional, psychological meaning – only “passing the test” may not be enough for us to overcome the urge of frittering away.
Let’s take it a step further. Let’s unfold that into secondary benefits and try and find out what the deep psychological benefits are. What benefits will I have if I pass the test? That goes beyond the academic benefit. It means happiness to my family members. I will sleep better, with fewer worries about the future. It will give me that sense of victory, of being able to choose a goal, go for it and reach it.
Do you see what I mean? This will be of great help for your brain to amplify the psychological motivation. Let’s use a different example to make it very clear how we will use these psychological tricks to change our own behaviour.
Imagine I want to set up my own business. I want to be an entrepreneur. But there’s so much to do, I need to draft my business plan, or at least my business model canvas, I have to understand what digital tools I need to use, establish partnerships, sound out the market, negotiate better prices with suppliers, in short, wow, I get paralysed with so much to do.
Again, the secret is to think “what is the benefit that I will reap by getting my hands dirty?”
In this case, the immediate answer would be “I can set up my business!” All right, this is the cold objective, the primary goal. But that might just not be enough for me to stop stalling. What are the secondary consequences? Deep? Psychological?
Again, it is much more than simply having a huge profit and getting some money into my pocket, the true meaning is much more than that. If I set up my own business, I will serve my customers well, they will be happy for doing business with me. If I open my own successful company, I will not be subject to my boss from my current job which I don’t like. If I am the owner of my business, I can use my creativity to do things the way I want. I can exercise my creative freedom. If I have a successful business, some people who are close to me will admire me further, and maybe I can even help them.
Do you see what I mean? Note that in both examples of the test and the entrepreneurship, what I’m doing is turning a cold and meaningless objective into something emotional. “Passing the test” and “opening my own business” are specific objectives, without much meaning. On the other hand, helping my country to improve, delivering happiness to my clients, sleeping without worries, enjoying the good times with people I love with more comfort, releasing my creativity, that’s what is going to give me motivation to burst out of bed early in the morning and get my hands dirty with pleasure, eagerness, and motivation to do my best – Productivity Ninja style.
Let’s start with technique number one, the “Deep Psychological Benefits”. It is simpler to implement, easy as pie… the second technique, which I will teach you in a minute is much harder so for now, we will just warm up.
Grab your notebook and a pen, take a break in this video and spend five minutes literally LETTING YOUR MIND WANDER to find its way around the technique.
What is it that you need to do now and yet you are leaving for later? That is the first step, identifying the important areas of your life where you are kicking the can down the road, leaving things aside. This first answer is your cold and punctual goal. It is the primary objective.
Then, the second step of our interactive activity is to go WELL BEYOND and understand the HUMAN personal, emotional consequences of that goal. Those are the Deep Psychological Benefits. Write everything down into your journal, think big, be bold and think of the best possible scenario, where everything goes very well.
Ready? Good! By the way, let me congratulate you since you’re part of a group of people who IMPLEMENTS. I’ve seen statistics from videos that I post online and there is a group of people who do nothing, not even the interactive activity. Instead of having paused the video, they just left it to “do later”. By acting like that, there’s no way we can double our productivity because in order to get a result, it is essential that we do the activities. We are working together, I’m here dedicating my time, you are there investing your time as well, and for that reason, I congratulate you for doing the activity.
Let’s now see the second technique. Take note:
Technique number two: ARCHITECTURE OF INEVITABILITY
“Architecture of Inevitability”. That’s right. I will now devise, build up, create a scenario, a condition in which whatever I need to do will inevitably be done.
Have you ever left your umbrella at home even when you know it is the rainy season? It’s terrible, but you can easily solve that, it’s a simple issue. Just put the umbrella right next to the door and every time you go out you will see the umbrella and you won’t forget to take it.
That is a small example for us to start thinking about the concept of “Architecture of Inevitability”. That is, I’m going to change my environment and my conditions so that my desire will become INEVITABLE. I will not depend on my memory or my willpower. Now that’s Productivity Ninja.
Take note of an interesting way to use YOUR architecture of inevitability. I don’t know what your goal is. Say it is to finish reading a difficult book, if you are studying for a test, or to prepare the first draft of the business plan for your entrepreneurial project, or simply to go to the gym at least twice a week. Whatever, I am only using this as an example.
To make it inevitable, you will need three elements. Take note:
1) Clarity on the specific activity you will perform
2) Public commitment with social pressure
3) A nasty punishment
That’s it. Remember I told you that the first technique of Deep Psychological Benefits was really easy? With the second technique – the Architecture of Inevitability, we will see whether we REALLY want to do something or not, because of the punishment.
Please note that I’m always taking a more punctual activity. Instead of “setting up a profitable company”, which is very complex, I break it down into smaller pieces, like “preparing the first draft of my business plan”. Instead of “losing fifteen kilos”, I choose “going to the gym at least twice a week”.
For the Architecture of Inevitability, that is very important. The action must be clear and specific, something I’m absolutely sure I can carry out. That allows me to measure my progress.
The second part is the public commitment. It doesn’t matter if I’m going to tell my wife, my parents, or my best friend, but I need to call someone and say “Peter, here is the thing, you’re my best friend, I need you to help me with this”. And he will say, “Sure Seiiti, what’s up?”
“There’s this new project I’ve been, you know, working on, but I’ve been, you know, faffing about for a while now, and I haven’t even written the business plan. I decided I’ll do it between now and next Wednesday, the 15th, by noon sharp. So, you can help me by putting a reminder on your calendar, setting an alarm for the 15th, which is the date when I have to show you the finished plan, or at least I will have to call you and say Peter, I got it, it’s ready.”
If I haven’t finished by then, I will receive a punishment.
Understand? It is essential that you choose a person who is strict and lacks a sense of humor to help you with pleasure, but at the same time is a person who does not buy any excuses from you. That said, if you have the nicest grandma and if you tell her “so granny, I haven’t done it because the kitchen plumbings burst and then I lost the whole weekend with the plumber in the house, you know?”, and then your grandma says “oh, my dear grandson, don’t worry! Look, grandma’s made you some chocolate cake, poor thing.”
That just can’t happen! It’s also no use if that Peter friend of yours is a totally disorganized guy who will not remember to demand you to deliver what you’ve promised or who will not take you seriously. If you are not sure whether you can count on the person like 100%, then you can call more than one person and tell them all the same thing, remembering to explain what the punishment is.
Now… here is the heavy part of today’s video. If you’ve watched it this far, it is a sign that you are a determined ninja and you are not afraid of things! Let’s go. The punishment has to be something you do not want to do at all, something that would bother you deeply. For instance: go to that political party’s office, the one you HATE, you despise because of all the corruption you know they are involved in, and make a cash donation, or put a sticker from them on your car. Or, if you are a big supporter of a football team, spend the entire weekend wearing the shirt of their rival team, the one that’s thrashed your team last season.
You cannot set a light punishment, okay? Some people come up with some child’s play and say “I’ll do the dishes”, but they know that isn’t really a punishment, because there is a certain benefit: at the end of the day, the dishes will be clean, they are helping with the chores, that is nothing more than their obligation. Or then they think “I will give my brother a tenner”, which is also not a super punishment, because after all the money remains in the family.
If you REALLY want to stop fiddling around, the punishment must be something unpleasant, as those examples of the donation to the corrupt party or wearing the shirt of your rival team. Go smell your brother’s dirty socks. Of course, you need to use common sense, please, never do anything to jeopardize your health, nothing like that, but it has to be something nasty, something you don’t want to do at all. With that, we will conquer the Architecture of Inevitability.
Did you enjoy the video? If so and if you want to help us to inspire more people to also be more productive and, therefore, make the most of their spare time, please share this video with your friends.
My name is Seiiti Arata from Arata Academy. All the best and I’ll see you on the course!