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  • None of us are immune.

  • Procrastination sneaks up on us all, some worse than others.

  • In this video, we'll go over the science of procrastination and provide you with actionable

  • advice to overcome it.

  • What's going on guys! Dr. Jubbal MedSchoolInsiders.com.

  • Piers Steel describes an equation useful in

  • understanding procrastination.

  • He argues that Motivation = Expectancy x Value divided by Impulsiveness x Delay whereby motivation

  • is the willingness to do work, which is essentially the opposite of procrastination.

  • Breaking down the equation, expectancy refers to how much you expect to succeed at doing

  • the task and thereby getting the anticipated reward.

  • The more you expect being successful, the less likely you're going to procrastinate

  • on it.

  • Value refers to how much you enjoy doing a task, and how much you're going to enjoy the

  • reward.

  • The more value you derive from a task or the reward, the more likely you're gonna get straight

  • to work.

  • Impulsiveness refers to your tendency to get distracted by other things.

  • High impulsivity lures you to Instagram or Facebook instead of doing the work at hand.

  • Delay refers to the time-lapse until receiving the anticipated reward.

  • The longer the delay, the more likely you are to procrastinate, as you figure it's something

  • you can just take care of later.

  • Now, we want to maximize expectancy and value, as they are directly proportional to motivation

  • and we want to minimize impulsiveness and delay, as they are inversely proportional.

  • Let's go over actionable steps on how to use the equation to our advantage and overcome

  • procrastination.

  • First, break down the steps.

  • With any task you need to do, whether studying for an exam or completing a project, break

  • it down to smaller steps.

  • Doing so will increase expectancy in our procrastination equation, as smaller tasks seem much easier

  • to accomplish than larger projects.

  • While everyone has a different sweet spot, I find that being hyper-specific with timelines

  • is very helpful to me.

  • For example, if I need to study for an exam next week and I have several lectures and

  • practice problems to go through, I will take a few minutes to think which lectures I should

  • complete on each day as well as how many practice problems.

  • I then put everything into Things 3 which is my personal to-do app of choice, but you should

  • obviously use whatever tool you prefer.

  • You can see an example of a highly structured daily and weekly timeline I created in excel

  • in my Step 1 study schedule video.

  • This high level of structure works for me and for my personality but it definitely does

  • not work for everyone, again figure out what works best for you.

  • Number two, keep the task small.

  • The hardest part in getting work done is just starting.

  • One of my favorite study hacks to address this is the Pomodoro Technique.

  • In short, you work in 25-minute blocks, each separated by a five-minute break.

  • During each block, you focus on just one small task.

  • In my Pomodoro technique video, I go over in more detail of what the technique is and

  • exactly how to use it.

  • This was actually revolutionary for my study habits and we started using it in med school.

  • And you may be thinking, how does this actually help me get started on my work?

  • Going back to our equation, this increases expectancy.

  • If I sat down to study and told I myself I need to study for five hours, I would definitely

  • get distracted very, very, easily.

  • But if I instead tell myself, I only need to study 25 minutes on this one little task

  • it becomes far less daunting and it becomes much easier to not only get started but also

  • to stay focused for the 25-minute Pomodoro.

  • Number three set the bar low.

  • This is yet another trick to increase the expectancy in our equation.

  • Set the goal to something less than what you were actually capable of.

  • I have used this recently for my own meditation practice.

  • When I set out to meditate 20 minutes every day, I only get around to doing it a couple

  • times per week.

  • It just felt like I never had the time to actually sit down and do 20 minutes of meditation,

  • so I rarely did.

  • Instead, I lowered my expectations by aiming to meditate just two minutes every day.

  • By lowering the bar, I found myself meditating most days and even though I set the goal as

  • just two minutes, I almost always exceeded it.

  • Number four, hack pleasure from the experience of studying.

  • Do you ever feel like studying is boring?

  • What if you don't actually support the immediate outcomes of the task?

  • Let's say you don't know what you want or maybe you have unclear priorities.

  • These examples all point to low value in our equation, increase in value will help us overcome

  • procrastination.

  • So how do we increase value?

  • One way is by giving yourself a reward for completing a task.

  • For example, you can reward yourself with a healthy and tasty meal or by hanging out

  • with your friends after and only after you finish your chemistry homework.

  • If you need help with self-discipline like this, check out our self-discipline video.

  • Alternatively, you can improve the experience of the work itself.

  • As you progress in your medical education, the work gets more and more focused on material

  • you actually enjoy.

  • However, at the beginning, you may have to grind through subjects that you do not find

  • stimulating.

  • To improve the experience of studying, consider mixing up your study environments or listening

  • to great study music.

  • If you want a taste of my own personal study music, check out the Insider Email Newsletter

  • where I share some of my favorite study songs every week.

  • You can sign up on the MedSchoolInsiders.com Website Number five, use Parkinson's law

  • to your advantage.

  • The idea that you can complete your task at a later time can crush even the most productive

  • individuals.

  • Enter Parkinson's Law.

  • Parkinson's law states that work expands to fill the time allotted to it.

  • meaning if you have only 30 minutes of work to do, but you allot two hours of work to

  • do it, then you'll end up spending the entire two hours.

  • As I've stated in other videos, I use this technique frequently by creating artificial

  • deadlines that force me to get work done more efficiently.

  • These artificial deadlines decrease delay in our motivation equation, thus decreasing

  • the likelihood of procrastination.

  • The trick is to not be too aggressive with your timelines as it can lead to unnecessary

  • stress.

  • With time, you will get more accurate at gauging how long a task will take and how to use Parkinson's

  • law to your advantage.

  • Number six, be deliberate with your study environment.

  • We can all agree that one of the biggest killers to our productivity are distractions.

  • Avoiding distractions through sheer willpower is unlikely to be fruitful long term.

  • Rather, approach it prophylactically by crafting a work environment that minimizes distractions.

  • In doing so, we're decreasing impulsivity from our motivation equation.

  • For me, this translates to placing my phone on airplane mode, putting my Mac on do not

  • disturb, and going full screen with the work at hand.

  • If working at home distracts you, then opt for a library or a coffee shop instead.

  • Above all, make sure you minimize your digital distractions.

  • I have found that any other type of distraction pales in comparison to the focus-killing nature

  • of notifications from your phone, smartwatch, or computer.

  • And last number seven, understand your personality type.

  • The issue with advice, in general, is that one suggestion can work wonders for one individual,

  • but not for another.

  • Of the previous six tips, I am doubtful that any of them will not work for you, but I am

  • confident that some will work much better than others.

  • Now, a big part of optimizing your own life, whether that's productivity or study habits,

  • diet, exercise, or anything else is understanding oneself.

  • One of the tips that didn't make this list, for example, is accountability and that's

  • because it's highly effective for some individuals with a certain personality type, but significantly

  • less so for others.

  • I go over how you can determine your personality type, as well as specific strategies for each

  • personality type such as accountability that you can use to your advantage in my four tendencies

  • video, link in the description below.

  • I'd love to hear from you what other tools, tricks, or hacks you use to overcome procrastination.

  • Have you found loss aversion useful for you?

  • How about accountability groups?

  • Share with the rest of us what has worked for you down below and let's help each other

  • out.

  • Thank you all so much for watching.

  • Shout out to my patron supporters that help make videos like this possible.

  • If you like the video, make sure you press that like button, hit subscribe if you have

  • not already and I will see you guys in that next one.

None of us are immune.

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Procrastination – 7 Steps to Cure

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    Summer posted on 2020/06/08
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