Using pride to beat procrastination

Been putting off work recently?

I feel you. Sometimes you know that Future You would appreciate it if you worked right now, but you just can’t get yourself to do it.

A few weeks ago, I discovered a new way to beat procrastination—thank you, Jonathan Stark—and I wanted to share it with you because it has worked so well for me. Here’s how it works:

Choose something that makes you feel proud. Then do it every day.

This might sound like I’m telling you to “just do the work”, but this is more specific. This technique has you doing something that makes you feel proud and it has you doing it every day.

You’ve probably noticed that I have been writing and publishing daily for a bit now. At first, I thought it would be difficult to write every day, but it’s much easier than I expected. Why?

Writing and publishing makes me feel proud every day. Because it does, it’s much easier to sit down and write the next day. I know I’ll feel good afterwards, because I felt proud yesterday, the day before yesterday, the day before that, etc.

You can use this technique too. Pick something that makes you feel proud and do that thing every day. Not “do something that makes you feel proud every day”—remove the element of choice. Pick one thing and do that thing.

If you’re writing a thesis, it could be “write 500 words”. If you’re starting a side hustle, it could be “send a personalized email to two potential customers”. Or if you’re writing software, you could refactor one existing chunk of code every day.

Doing this thing every day is important because the feeling of pride won’t last very long. If you commit to doing it only once a week, by next week you might no longer feel last week’s pride. And then you can’t use that pride to motivate you next week.

Pride is a powerful feeling. Use it to your advantage.

What will you commit to doing every day?


— Peter

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