What works for me to beat executive dysfunction

It’s a simple, probably specific thing to me, which you might find useful nonetheless.

Top down photo of a work desk with a laptop, headphones, mouse, glasses, clapper board, with a person sleeping holding a mug.

This is highly localised to me, it works for me, it may or may not work for you, but if you have free time and it doesn’t cost you anything, you might as well try.

This post, as many others, starts with a Youtube video. This one, specifically (linked only, so you stay in control whether you want YT tracking on your device):

The Unfair Advantage Of The 60 Second Procrastination Rule

The gist of it is that if you need to start doing a thing, and you find starting difficult, spend 60 seconds not doing the actual thing, but only to prep for doing the thing. If you need to study, spend 60 seconds setting up your study materials, but not studying. If you need to cook a meal, spend 60 seconds taking out your mise en place, but not cooking. If you need to do laundry, spend 60 seconds taking out your detergent, etc. The reason it works is because then the momentum carries you through.

And that’s when I realised that I work the same way. The past few days I had a thousand spoons and I’ve been getting so much stuff done to the point that the reason this very blog post isn’t published exactly at 6pm local time is because I’m late writing it because since I woke up at 7, I’ve been doing things. Besides the point.

The way I go through my todo list is that I look at it, and think “okay, what’s the very first step I need to do to get this going?” If it’s cooking, then going down into the kitchen. If it’s writing the blog post, it’s opening up the admin area of my blog. If it’s returning a thing to the library of things, then gathering the thing. The point is to move out from the doomscrolling sitting on the couch state and into someplace that’s transient and I need to move out of it. In this way I choose to move towards dealing with the 5–minute problem that I’ve been procrastinating for 3 months.

This might not work for you, maybe you have a different block, maybe putting your phone in your pocket and getting off your butt won’t give you the momentum to get shit done. And that’s fine. I hope you can give this a try, and maybe it helps you.

Until next time!

Photo by Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash