Book review for "How to Beat Procrastination"

Published 22 June 2020

Book review for “How to Beat Procrastination”

8 Tricks to get things done in less time

by Hunter White

This is a small book that reads more like an outline.  That being said, it includes some good information  and helpful hints on tackling procrastination.

Chapter 1 - The science behind procrastination

The author starts chapter 1 of  the book by describing what procrastination is from a scientific standpoint.  He describes it as a “tug of war between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex”.  This is all related to the well known “pleasure principle” in the brain, that focuses on activity that feels good.

The author then goes on to categorize the types of procrastinators into three groups:

  • Thrill Seekers

    • Can do work at a good pace, but need a deadline to get the adrenaline rush to motivate them to finish
  • Avoiders

    • They fear being judged, they constantly fear the quality of their work
  • Indecisive People

    • They don’t have good decision making skills so avoid making decisions at all

I feel like these groupings are too simplistic, I know many people that procrastinate for other reasons such as:

  • Unable to break down projects into tasks

    • When people are faced with a large project, many times they will not know how to break down the project into manageable tasks.
  • Can’t work alone

    • Some people are more social or extroverted than other people. While introverted people may have no issues working for long periods by themselves, the extroverted person needs  social interaction to focus on task completion.
  • Accountability

    • Maybe this is a form of the Avoider the author mentions, but these people need to be help accountable by someone else in order to move forward on their tasks.  They are perfectly capable of completing tasks, but don’t prioritize them because there is no pressure to hold them accountable for completion.

Chapter 2 - Main causes of procrastination

The author then moves on to discuss the main causes of procrastination

  • Laziness

    • The person doesn’t have the motivation or energy to complete tasks
  • Being Smart

    • Because these people are faster at completing tasks, they have a confidence level that makes them start to procrastinate
  • Good Experiences in the Past

    • Repeated success after low efforts causes overconfidence that can lead to procrastination
  • Perfectionism

    • Since the goal is to perform every task to perfection, if these people don’t see a perfect outcome they can start to procrastinate to avoid and imperfect outcome
  • Low Energy Levels

    • I really didn’t see much difference in this to the Laziness category above
  • Fear of Failure

    • If the fear of failing is greater than the desire to succeed then people will procrastinate to even be put into a failure situation
  • Lack of Focus

    • Can’t focus on a task long enough to complete it

Chapter 3 - How to reduce procrastination easily

  • Forgiveness

    • Forgive yourself for past procrastinations
  • Minimize Distractions

    • Reduce the amount of items designed to distract you from your task like smart phones
  • Focusing on the Task

    • Related to minimizing distractions, clear your mind to focus on the task
  • Plan your Progress

    • It’s hard to examine your performance if you don’t have a plan
  • Committing to a Task

    • Be passionate for the task at hand
  • Rewarding Yourself

    • This will help train your brain to associate good feelings with task completion

Chapter 4 - Strategies to help stop procrastinating

  • Pushing a Fake Deadline

    • Set a deadline for task completion
  • Watching Motivational Speeches

    • Helps motivate you to complete tasks
  • Finding Efficient Ways to do Work

    • Try to find ways to minimize effort while completing tasks
  • Keeping Track of your Progress

    • Helps to pinpoint areas of success and opportunity

Chapter 5 - Simplify Your Life

This chapter focuses on how the complexities of your lifestyle can impact the level of procrastination, if life is too over whelming then procrastinating can block that overwhelming feeling for a period of time.

  • Simplify your emotions

    • If your emotional state is always in an agitated state then focusing on tasks is hard
  • Simplify your relationships

    • Having stable and balanced friendships allows a more focused life
  • Simplify your attitude

    • Having a simpler life will allow you to be more productive

Chapter 6 - 8 Tips and Tricks to Get Things Done In Less Time

  1. Get and extra hour

    1. Wake up an hour earlier (I’m a big beliver in this tactic)
  2. Plan everything

    1. Spending more time in planning stage can save time in implementation
  3. Hardest tasks first

    1. If you tackle the hardest parts first then the easier tasks will go faster
  4. Focus on one thing at a time

    1. Focus on completing one task at a time
  5. Have focused time slots

    1. Having distraction free time to complete tasks is critical
  6. Meditate

    1. Can help focus your mind and clear distractions
  7. Make quick decisions

    1. Your decision power will be increased if you are able to train yourself to make quick decisions
  8. Shut off your online life

    1. Your online life (social networks, etc) can be a huge distraction, find ways to limit them

Chapter 7 - How to Use Gamification to Stop Procrastination

The idea is to turn any task into a game, this offers competition  and rewards of a game.  Gamification offers three major benefits:

  • Reward System

    • Getting a quick reward for completion of a task can help train your brain to associate good feelings with task completion
  • Competition

    • Competition will force people to get better and better at completing tasks
  • Free Will

    • Allowing yourself to take on a different personality when competing so can make it more interesting

Allowing yourself to see projects as a small game can increase your productivity

Chapter 8 - Different Types of Procrastinators and How to Beat Them

The author offers five major types of procrastinators and options for  fixing them. The author seems to segment procrastinators in different ways in each chapter.

  1. The Perfectionist

    1. They are afraid of sub-par work so don’t start tasks
  2. The Imposter

    1. They will not do any work but tend to throw others under the bus
  3. The Dread-Filler

    1. Afraid of bad results
  4. The Overwhelmed

    1. These can be part-time procrastinators, if things are under control they complete tasks but once they get overwhelmed they lose focus and procrastinate
  5. The Lucky

    1. Puts in low effort but is still successful


The author compares procrastination to a plague that ruins someones life.  He reiterates other parts of the book on how to use Gamification and Meditation to help eliminate procrastination.

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