How To Trick Your Brain Into Being More Productive

Ev Chapman
August 18, 2021

Hi, I'm Ev & I'm a procrastinator.

Yeah, I know, you thought I was superwoman and couldn't possibly have an unproductive day in my life. But it's been a few days, maybe a week that I've been slowly putting tasks off and I know something is up.

I'm not unmotivated. I've just been slacking on my task list.

Not with writing it, I'm good at writing lists. But with HOW I write it. For instance, there is a big difference between having 'atomic essay' on the list and 'Draft 250-word draft for today's Atomic Essay.'

It's amazing what a difference a name can make.

The second immediately puts you into action mode because you've used a word like 'draft' so your brain knows exactly what you should be doing instead of something vague like 'atomic essay.'

That's one of two important lessons I learned from my GTD days:

  • What is the very next action? When I'm procrastinating on a task I ask myself, what is the very next physical action I can do to move this forward. And I put that on my task list.
  • Start every next action with a verb. Put yourself in a state of action by using verbs in your task list rather than vague items on a list. Your mind associates verbs with doing and so it starts to get into a state of readiness.

Here are some common verbs that will transform your task list

  • Call
  • Fill Out
  • Look Into
  • Draft
  • Review
  • Find
  • Gather
  • Email
  • Write
  • Reply To
  • Draft
  • Outline
  • Design

Give your brain a break and clean up your action list to get more done with these next action verbs.

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