The End of Procrastination, Part 1: Using Willpower to Make More Money
Today, I want to talk about the end of procrastination, increasing willpower. And this is part one of a couple of parts that we’ll be talking about willpower.
Willpower has become a scientific field of research in the last decade or so. And in this article, I want to cover a few important points regarding willpower.
It will help you do the following:
- Increase the amount of money and satisfaction you make, or have
- Reduce your stress levels, and
- Increase your free time.
So let’s start with increasing the amount of money that you make.
Willpower is essentially two components. The first is resisting the urge to be distracted by something that does not add up to your desired commitments.
The second is the degree to which you stick to generating outcomes and activity towards a set of desired commitments.
So number two, which is the degree to which you stick to generating outcomes is really partly a standalone factor, but it’s also contingent on number one, which is your ability to withstand impulses.
So the ability to withstand impulses is really the primary factor in sticking to the program. It will bring you more satisfaction, more money, and more health.
From a simple point of view, the more that you can resist the urge to be distracted, the more time you have to devote to your desired commitment.
From a painstaking study conducted in Germany by William Hoffman, 200 men and women made about 10,000 momentary reports between morning and night.
The scientists have concluded that we spend about a quarter of our working hours, about four hours a day, resisting desires, time is not just the ability to make money and increase satisfaction.
But the ability to highly leverage your money and satisfaction through imagination, research, inquiry, and innovation.
So imagine four hours a day when you’re not doing that, it’s quite a bite out of your day.
On a linear scale, if you were to consider that your potential or real hourly rate or business productivity is at least $50 an hour.
That is you’re earning, at least that for your company that you work for, if you own the company, that’s what you’re generating that represents a loss of about $200 per day, per person, or at least $1,000 per week per person, or over a year, about $50,000 per year to the company.
Now, if you own the company and you have 10 people in your company that represents half a million dollars per year of loss or opportunity costs.
Now this math, I believe it’s actually really quite simple because it under-calculates the real issue because most productivity is never, ever linear. It is mostly non-linear and involves a significant result only after some prolonged focused thinking and effort.
So you just don’t make $50 an hour every hour. It’s really like you, you focus on something for them.
And then you make $500 or $1,000 dollars in that timeframe. And you may not see the money right away, but it might come a little later, but still, the point is that it’s mostly non-linear it may actually be way more.
You put in 10 hours and it may actually be way more than $5,000 or maybe $10,000 of potential income that you can get just by exerting a little willpower.
So the bottom line is willpower is incredibly important to your bottom line.
Some quick understanding about the neuroscience of part and I’ll get to the practice or a strategy. Willpower is a function of glucose, the ability to resist impulses, primarily arrests with the prefrontal cortex part of your brain, which is right here.
And the connections between that and the impulse or reactive areas of your brain, which are more in the middle part of your brain generally called the limbic system. The prefrontal cortex exerts breaking functions or is it tries to reign in the impulse areas or stop it from overreacting.
So imagine the prefrontal cortex, like the elephant rider, and the impulsive areas like the elephant. It requires energy to reign in the impulse areas.
So if you’re depleted because you’re multitasking or taking on too many projects at once (or you’re making too many decisions all at the same time or same time, period, all of which are no-no’s, because every time you switch from one task to another, your glucose levels literally drop.
What happens next is your ability to restrain your impulses, including the ones that distract you, tend to go down leading to the elephant rider, losing control over the rampant elephant.
So imagine if you’re dependent on this elephant and a rider to get your work done and make money and increase satisfaction, it wouldn’t be very good for you.
The takeaway is maybe less is more. If you’re looking to make more money, train yourself in a team to focus on fewer outcomes of projects being focused on per day.
And this will reduce the task switching or the multi-tasking that goes on and increase the ability to produce more output, real output, increasing of money and satisfaction.
Before moving on to part two, think about how less is more.
The End of Procrastination, Part 2: Using Willpower to Reduce Stress
In this part, we will talk more about using willpower to reduce stress. A good part of stress comes from the experience of not having control or some certainty regarding your success or avoidance of failure in a particular domain.
And what we’ve seen is that when clients actively plan and fine-tune the future plans they inevitably do two things:
- they put more oxygen or attention on the future, rather than on the past failures or past successes.
- there was a greater sense of certainty and control over what is going to happen in the future.
I’m not saying that they can control the future. Only that they have the experience of doing so, and this is sufficient to reduce stress in most normal situations.
From the research of willpower, we see that a slow build with plenty of forgiveness is really what works. What does this mean?
Most people, as they try to get into a new habit, for example, planning, start very aggressively and burn themselves out.
An analogy is like an athlete who wants to run in the Olympics. A 100-meter dash, but in the first day of training of his life decides to overstretch himself example run a hundred meters in 10 seconds.
When it’s average, it’s only 15 seconds and this could result in burnout and even injuries.
In the case of business planning, if you take on aggressively planning every day and fine-tuning every day, when you first start out, you will probably burn out. The takeaway here is for any new habit, you’re building the willpower, start slow and build slow.
It is amazing how fast people can build a new habit this way, without burning out. If you improve 1% every week, you will improve by a multiple of 117 times in one year.
In the next part, I will talk more about how you can increase your free time using willpower.
And the meantime, I just want you to think start slow and build slow and win the race without burnout.
The End of Procrastination, Part 3: Using Willpower to Create Habits That Increase Free Time
In this part, I’m going to talk about using willpower to increase free time. Most people don’t have the habits to increase their free time.
End of Procrastination: Establish Habits to Increase Free Time
You have habits to reduce free time. And guilt, frustration, and resignation typically play a part in this.
For example, people feel guilty about having free time and thus sabotage themselves when the idea of creating more free time comes up. Bad time management habits thinking in terms of activity, which tends to increase the number of hours worked rather than thinking in terms of outcomes, which tends to reduce the time worked.
For example, if you think of getting the same outcome done as soon as possible, and with the best resources, you’re more likely to use less time to produce the same output as you would ethically just taught in terms of activity.
So you see that in sales, for example, a lot, salespeople come to me in the training and it tell me today they’re going to do five hours of calling. Well, that’s activity-based. So you’re going to spend five hours, which typically ends up being frankly, about six hours, really? Because it is there.
Do they go into overtime? A lot of guilt of course plays into that. But if they’re aimed to get five referrals in the next hour and a half, let’s say that would have been more productive. Yeah, especially in the long run as you get more and more referrals. So that’s certainly, one way to trick yourself to produce more in less time.
The takeaway here is really, a slow build is what’s required to build that willpower to increase the free time.
Do you want to take stock of the number of hours of free time that you actually have already?
You’re reliable at creating right now. So in our coaching programs, clients get access to a time tracker software that tracks their time being allocated for different categories, free time versus deeding time versus workout time versus sales prospecting, et cetera, et cetera.
And this heightened awareness is sometimes sufficient to ignite and motivate people to start increasing their free time. But typically it takes longer.
So you want to start with a slow build and then build slowly over time.
So example, if you’re measured free time per week, it’s about eight hours then, you want to schedule your week and the next week to have eight hours at 10 minutes.
I know it sounds ridiculous, but it really does work. Then in the next two weeks increased that by maybe 15 minutes to eight hours and 15 minutes then gradually increased the rate of increase per week. And before you know it, you will have more free time.
My clients are constantly surprised by how unconscious they are to the sustained improvement.
That is the improvement. Although it occurs very slowly, over a few months is more substantial. They even imagined it to be when they started out. But yeah, they started out too aggressively.
They would not achieve their goals, renewed willpower, and improved habits.
Since 1991, I’ve been reflecting on, designing, and implementing methodologies and systems for bringing a transcendent, creative and innovative approach to critical aspects of entrepreneurship.