The three productivity killers

Ali Abdaal says there are three blockers to productivity:

  • Uncertainty
  • Anxiety
  • Inertia

Say you’re procrastinating going to the post office to ship a package. In that case, it looks like:

  • Uncertainty: Where is the nearest post office? Do I need to put it in a box or do they do that? What size box? Which line do I get in? Do I need to research shipping speed options? Ugh, so many questions. I’ll just do it tomorrow.
  • Anxiety: What if I embarrass myself but not knowing what to do? What if they’re annoyed that I didn’t use the right box or something? What if I screw it up somehow and the shipment doesn’t complete? Ugh, I can’t deal with all that today. I’ll just do it tomorrow.
  • Inertia: I’d need to find a dang box, pack it, get in the dang car, drive across town, deal with people. Ugh, so much work. If I could get started then I’d be OK, but YouTube is calling. I’ll just do it tomorrow.

So if you want to get crap done, you have to combat all three.

  • Combat uncertainty by researching what needs done ahead of time, so that you can write tasty tasks.
  • Killing anxiety is harder. Think: therapy, medicine, meditation, exercise, all that stuff. Hard but important work.
  • Building inertia is simple: spend 60 seconds doing the first step of the task. Put on your running shoes and see if you feel more like going on the run.

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