Do you put things off ‘til the last minute? Are you one of the millions who tend to delay getting to your to-do list? Then you’re in luck—behaviour scientist BJ Fogg joins us on this episode to talk about how to stop procrastinating thanks to his researched approach to behaviour. BJ is the founder of the Behaviour Design Lab at Stanford University and is the author of the New York Times bestseller Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything.
Highlights from this week’s episode
From the BJ Fogg Interview
On the importance of defining the task that you’ve been procrastinating on:
[When] somebody says, “Oh, I really need to clean my house.” Well, that’s still an abstraction, and so a big part of my work—In fact, one of the first steps in designing for behaviour is to get really specific. What is the behaviour? If you say, “oh, I’ve got to clean my house,” what is the behaviour? Is it, you know, sweep the kitchen floor? Is it clean the entire kitchen with chemicals? What? So by sometimes by defining the behaviour, it will happen.
On the counterintuitive way to get you started on something you’ve been putting off:
[T]his is going to surprise people, but one way to make it easier to [accomplish something] is just lower your expectations. One of the habits I have every weekend is to clean my car, my beach car here in Maui, which can get a messy with sand and boards inside and snorkels and all that. But once a week, I clean it and it’s become something I don’t procrastinate because it doesn’t have to be perfect. All I have to do is clean one thing in the car. And because it’s like I just clean one thing and I’m done, I don’t procrastinate it. But guess what, I [ultimately] do way more than one thing. So that’s another thing is just lower your expectations. Don’t feel like you have to have perfectly clean house or car or you have to, you know, pay all your bills, just do something.
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