How to Stop Procrastinating, With Behaviorist B.J. Fogg

Are you putting things off until the last minute? Are you one of the millions who put off completing your to-do list? Then you’re in luck – the behavioral scientist B.J. Fogg joins us in this episode on how to stop procrastinating with his explored approach to behavior. BJ is the founder of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University and the author of the New York Times bestseller Tiny Habits: Small Changes That Change Everything .

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Highlights from this week’s series

From an interview with BJ Fogg

On the importance of defining the task you are postponing:

[When] someone says, “Oh, I really need to clean up my house.” Well, this is still an abstraction, and this is a large part of my job. In fact, one of the first steps in designing behavior is to get really specific. What kind of behavior? If you say, “Oh, I have to clean my house,” how does it feel? You know, sweeping the kitchen floor? Clean up your entire kitchen with chemicals? Which? So sometimes, when defining behavior, it will happen.

What a paradoxical way to start what you are putting off:

[T] he’ll surprise people, but one way to make it easier [to get things done] is to just lower your expectations. One of the habits I have every weekend is washing my car, my beach car here in Maui, which can get dirty with sand, boards inside, pipes and more. But once a week I cleanse it, and it becomes something that I don’t put off until later, because it doesn’t have to be perfect. All I have to do is wash one thing in the car. And since it’s like I’m just putting one thing away and I’m done, I’m not putting it off. But you know what, I [end up] doing more than one thing. So it’s different to just lower your expectations. Don’t feel like you have to have a perfectly clean house or car, or have to, you know, pay all your bills, just do something.

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Episode transcript

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