So I admit it, I am a pretty good procrastinator. I work well when a deadline is looming and I need to get a job done. Tim Urban, a great blogger is also a master procrastinator and has spent some time thinking about why this is and what the implications are.

He says it better than I can so here is a link to his hilarious TED talk

My key takeaways:

We often work best when there is a deadline as the “panic monster” kicks in and we drive hard to complete the task at hand in a burst of productivity.

The really dangerous thing is that there are important things in our lives that don’t have deadlines. They are important but not urgent. For example spending time with your family, or making some significant change in your life that you know you need to make. Change is uncomfortable and continuing with life as it is, is convenient today so we don’t make the change. Because these important issues don’t have deadlines, we don’t motivate ourselves to get them done and then as time passes we really regret not having made the change sooner.

So what can we do about this? Firstly set yourself some deadlines. And start to do that by looking at your remaining lifetime here on earth. Be optimistic. Count up how many weeks you have left on this planet assuming you live a healthy productive life to the age of 90, draw them out on a piece of paper and start thinking about what you are going to do with each of those weeks and what you would like to have achieved.

Chatting to a colleague today it really struck home: time is our ultimate non-renewable resource. How we spend it is the most important decision we make each and every day. So give yourself permission to make some dedicated time for yourself, to think through what the most important things are in your life, and set yourself some deadlines to achieve them.

By the way Tim also has an amazing website where he he shares what he has learnt about some really interesting, complex concepts distilled down to quite simple explanations. Check it out at Wait But Why.

Tim Urban does a really good blog called Wait But Why? on all manner of interesting topics. He typically takes a complex topic and aims to simplify it substantially

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