Erika Obama

How I Reduce Frictions To Beat Procrastination

(The video will be public in hours if nothing appears.)

When I was a university student, I used to cancel going out a lot. Because taking an hour to the city by a crowded train after preparation was kind like hassle.

Even now, I frequently avoid cleaning the kitchen, because I don’t like the feeling of the cold water.

Basically, I’m a lazy person. But, what makes me so lazy?

What Causes Laziness And Procrastination?

From my experience, I think what causes laziness and procrastination is fear.

When you procrastinate on a task which looks too hard or unmanageable, chances are the fear of fatigue is behind this. Because it reminds you an uncomfortable feeling, and it’s painful to deal with it.

When you cancel going out a lot, chances are the preparation is a big task for you, or the fear of unexpected events is behind this. These unexpected events, such as a traffic accident, an earthquake, and a sudden nose-bleeding are usually unmanageable.

For the neurodivergents who have a difficulty of generating words in real-time like me, unexpected communications such as a small talk can be included in this category as well. At the past, I even couldn’t ask a bookshop staff about the stock of a book I was finding for, because I was afraid of forgetting what I was going to say right after saying “excuse me”.

These fears cause frictions. Frictions cause procrastinations. Procrastinations do not only make activities more hassle, but also make your life more difficult over time. Hesitation drains your time as well as your energy, so physically you’ll get less time to experience different things.

Procrastination gives you less time to experience different things

How I Prevent Procrastination

So, how can we prevent procrastination?

I think the key is making the frictions as ignorable small as possible, to make the tasks more realistic and more actionable.

Breaking a big task into smaller tasks

For a hard task or a big project, I break it down to smaller tasks before starting. It’s very effective for a forgetful brain, and also, it helps me keep motivated by rewarding small gratifications in shorter cycles. These small gratifications do work like instant gratifications which you’re given when scrolling social media, a cause of social media addiction. So, breaking down does turn the painful task or project into a bunch of less painful small tasks.

My to-do lists are typically ridiculously detailed.

Detailed To-Do List

For fears of unexpected events, firstly I analyse why the event feels terrible, then prepare well for it to overcome the fear.

For example, most of my fears which cause procrastination and laziness are the fear of tiredness and confusion.

So, I keep an EDC (everyday carry) set in my room, to not to be overwhelmed in each time I go out of home. It includes must-carry things like a key and wallet, and some small stuff I’d use in an emergency, such as bandages and a whistle. These stuff are carefully selected to prevent getting tired by the weight of themselves.

Also, I have a to-do list for the preparation alongside of the EDC set, in case of my forgetful brain stops working properly.

Tips For Forgetful Brains

Related to a to-do list, having multiple cheat sheets helps me as well.

Carrying a small piece of paper what to ask is written to a bookshop does make me feel a bit relaxed.

If you work in an office and catch or make phone calls, putting a post-it note with scripts of what to say on a phone call on a computer display might keep you away from panic.

Phone call cheat sheet

And yes, before asking a colleague or a boss any question, try quickly jotting down who to ask and what to ask on a memo pad.

It might sound silly, but, in reality, my forgetful brain often forgets their names temporally, when focusing on what to ask.

So, prepare for unexpected events, anyway.

Using A Right Tool

Sometimes a small tool play a big role.

For a chore like cleaning the kitchen, I use a pair of rubber gloves to protect my hands from the uncomfortable feeling of the cold water.

It magically turned the hassle chore into a fun activity. Now I do it more frequently. Washing the dishes more frequently means that the kitchen is more likely to be keep cleaned. Cleaning a relatively clean kitchen is less-hassle than cleaning a dirty kitchen.

Cleaning Kitchen

Swapping Tasks

But, if nothing works for you and can’t stop procrastinating, I recommend swapping tasks. It’s totally okay to go grocery shopping in the morning instead of tackling on a hard task when you really can’t focus. It would refresh your mood and you’d be able to focus once you come back.

Less fatigue = Less Friction

Less fatigue = less friction.

These tips reduced the friction and mental energy consumption which I was suffering for.

I hope these tips help you more or less.