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Outsmart Your Brain: Overcome Procrastination In 4 Easy Steps

For many, procrastination is a part of life—but in 2023, you can learn how to focus on what matters with the expert advice from Nir Eyal.
by Rob Gillham | Jan 2 2023

Studies have shown that only 9% of Americans keep their New Year’s resolutions. In fact, as reported by Strava, so many people quit their fitness goals on January 19 that it’s become known as “Quitter’s Day.”

One reason resolutions fail is a lack of time, our inability to focus, and our tendency to procrastinate. That’s where Blinkist comes in. According to the New York Times, the Blinkist app can help you achieve your goals with powerful ideas that take just a few minutes to learn.

“Blinkist encourages you to read more nonfiction books. The app contains cleverly written digests—called Blinks—where books are broken down into their main arguments.”
–The New York Times

The app takes a nonfiction work’s powerful ideas, key themes, and core principles and expertly breaks them down into a 15-minute bite-sized explainer you can read at home or listen to on your morning commute.

One exciting new feature of the Blinkist app is the expert guide. Guides are personality-driven, guided experiences through multiple books narrated by a professional and filled with recaps, infographics, and interactive exercises.

One such expert is Nir Eyal, a productivity expert and bestselling author of books like “Hooked” and “Irresistible.” In his Blinkist guide for how to Beat Procrastination and Distraction, he outlined four steps we should all follow to improve our focus.

So, if you want to achieve your New Year’s resolutions, improve your focus, and beat procrastination in 2023, here’s what you should do.

1. Become Indistractable


Nir Eyal’s guide begins by asking the question, how do we become distracted? According to some, technology is the problem. However, giving up our gadgets doesn’t necessarily stop us from procrastinating because our brains are masters at inventing distractions.

That’s why it is important to understand what triggers us to procrastinate. There are two types of triggers. External triggers like smartphone notifications and triggers, such as boredom or anxiety.

Therefore, technology alone cannot be blamed for distraction. Procrastination often has an internal source. In some cases, procrastination is an attempt to escape uncomfortable situations, relationship woes, or dissatisfaction with your job.

According to experts, procrastination is so common because we are evolutionarily hardwired to avoid discomfort in all forms. We inherited a culture of learning, growth, and, ultimately, survival from our ancestors because they never stayed still. But the good news is: we don’t need to give in to procrastination, we can teach ourselves to become indistractible. Here’s how.

2. Identify Your Triggers

ProcrastinationGuide-Triggers The next stage of Nir Eyal’s guide concerns how we define distraction. In most people’s minds, focus is the opposite of distraction. However, traction is the true opposite of distraction. Traction is anything that pulls you towards what you want to accomplish, while distraction is anything that pulls you away from your goals. When you understand this, it becomes clear that anything can be a traction or a distraction, depending on your goal.

Procrastination occurs when the desire to escape discomfort is more important than the desire to pursue pleasure and avoid pain inside our brains. What causes discomfort? As we’ve seen, there are internal and external triggers that can cause procrastination.

Anything outside of your home or office can form an external trigger, your phone, computer, or your loved ones. When it comes to internal triggers, they’re a bit more complicated, primarily because they’re bundled in with our emotions. In general, worry, stress, fatigue, and uncertainty are the most common internal triggers for procrastination.

3. Overcome Procrastination

ProcrastinationGuide-Reasons According to Eyal, when you feel like procrastinating, give in to that distraction for just 10 minutes. This is because completely restraining yourself might seem better, but it often backfires.

Rejecting distraction is like pulling on a rubber band, eventually, it will snap and come back on you. Learning how to manage these sensations of distraction is much more effective. The 10-Minute Rule has shown to be much more effective than simply saying no.

Take out a timer the next time you’re tempted to watch Netflix instead of working, set it for 10 minutes, and don’t touch the app until it’s done. The good news is that 90% of the time, you won’t feel the urge any longer.

4. Get Hooked On Good Habits

ProcrastinationGuide-ExcerciseTo form good habits to beat procrastination, Nir Eyal uses his hook model as inspiration. The Hook model is a model used by companies to make their products become daily habits, but when used by individuals, it can lead you to form a productivity-boosting habit.

The stages are:

  • The trigger: the urge to procrastinate, triggered by a monotonous task.
  • The action: set a 10-minute timer to give in to distractions and procrastinate.
  • The reward: the fulfillment of the need that originally motivated us to procrastinate, for example being entertained if the motivation was boredom.
  • The investment: now that you have made a short investment in avoiding procrastination, you can return to the task at hand.

The last step leads back to the start of the cycle and as these steps are repeated over and over again, the individual will develop internal triggers instead of external ones and eventually overcome procrastination.

Overcome Life’s Problems With Expert Guides

In the Blinkist library, you can find many more expert guides to learn about various topics. In each guide, specialists like Dawn Madsen explain the key ideas and recommend explainer packs to give you a solid understanding of their topic. Each guide is an active learning journey with exercises to complete at key steps along the way. This means that for every new piece of information you learn, you have to use it in a way that is unique to you, boosting how much you remember in the process.

Blinkist offers expert guides from top thought leaders that explain big ideas in simple, memorable ways.

Beat Procrastination And Learn From A Book In 15 Minutes

Blinkist offers a way to acquire knowledge that’s faster and more effective than audiobooks, and podcasts. The app provides users access to powerful ideas from a book in just 15 minutes, and this new and faster way of learning gives people the facts they need to make significant changes to their lives. In the Blinkist library, there are over 5,500 titles to choose from across 27 categories like personal development, psychology, and entrepreneurship.

One of the World’s Best Apps

Hooked App Screenshot
The sleek and simple design makes it easy to learn from some of the world’s best books in minutes — whether that’s through listening or reading.

Over the last eight years, Blinkist’s mission has been to help the curious find time for learning. In the process, they’ve built a gorgeous, user-friendly app and have picked up some major awards along the way to becoming, in the words of Apple, ‘one of the world’s best apps‘.

In 2017, Blinkist was nominated by Apple as one of the best in their App Store. Plus, Blinkist has received the World Summit Award from the United Nations in the Learning & Education category and a Google Material Design Award for Brand Expressiveness.

“With Blinkist you can boost your knowledge and gain new perspectives so that you can be a better professional, a better partner, or a better you.”
–The United Nations

Over 90 Thousand 5-Star Ratings

When Blinkist isn’t winning awards, it’s winning the favor of millions of users worldwide. To date, the app has received over 90K five-star ratings from Android and Apple users. In fact, nearly 75% of all user ratings for Blinkist were five stars. Just take a look at what some users are saying:

“Perfect for populating your mind with smart thoughts and the latest research. I use the audio format while in transportation.”
–5-star review

Start Your Learning Journey

Do you want to make 2023 your most productive year ever? Get started today and give the Blinkist app a go!

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