I can often tell what I’m going to procrastinate on before I start it. Rather than leaving things to chance, when I feel that resistance, I snap into action and ‘pre-commit’. This drastically increases the chances that it will get done. Here’s how I do it:

  • Setup Public Accountability. I either recruit a friend to be an accountability partner or post my commitment on social media. When setting up accountability, I very specifically share what I’m going to do, when I’m going to do it by, and when I’m going to report back on the results.
  • Create Negative Consequences. For example, sometimes when I don’t get work done on time I make myself run an extra lap at the gym after work. This way of thinking helps me understand that procrastinating will only cause more work.
  • Time Block When I’ll Take Action. Instead of hoping I’ll have enough time, I make time by scheduling the task on my calendar. Then, I will do what I need to do regardless of how I feel. I realize that feeling anxious at times is normal, but it’s not a good excuse to procrastinate.

I use Stickk to manage my precommitments. StickK was developed by Yale University economists, Dean Karlan and Ian Ayres. They tested the effectiveness of Commitment Contracts through years of field research.