Are you also tired of putting off your dreams until “tomorrow?” Why not just Do It Today?
In this episode of The Agent of Wealth Podcast, the Bautis Financial team discusses the eleventh book assignment in their monthly Book Club, Do It Today: Overcome Procrastination, Improve Productivity, and Achieve More Meaningful Things by Darius Foroux. This “best of” article collection helps readers overcome procrastination, improve their productivity, and achieve all the things they’ve always wanted.
In this episode, we discuss:
- What procrastination is, and the cost of procrastination.
- Prioritization: How to identify and focus on your most important tasks.
- Why we should ditch perfectionism and embrace the idea of “good enough.”
- How to implement effective planning strategies into your own life.
- How to hold yourself accountable.
- And more!
Do It Today: Overcome Procrastination, Improve Productivity, and Achieve More Meaningful Things | Bautis Financial: 8 Hillside Ave, Suite LL1 Montclair, New Jersey 07042 (862) 205-5000 | Schedule an Introductory Call
This is the eleventh episode of the Book Club series, and this time around, Kyra selected the book Do It Today: Overcome Procrastination, Improve Productivity, and Achieve More Meaningful Things by Darius Foroux. I’m going to hand it over to Kyra to introduce the book, and lead the episode.
Thanks, Marc. “Do It Today” is a collection of 30 short, easy-to-read articles Darius Foroux wrote on his journey to overcoming procrastination. Darius’ philosophy is summarized in three words, the title of the book: Do it today. In the “About This Book” section, before the articles, he wrote:
“Look, I don’t have to tell you that life is finite, and that time is not replenishable. Every second that we invest in something is time that we can never get back.”
I choose this book for two reasons:
- Just like Darius, I procrastinate. Personally, my productivity ebbs and flows. Some days I’m 100% focused, and I can get a lot done. But there are other days that it can be difficult for me to stay clear headed – I might get distracted by my phone, other (less important) tasks, and so on. And, like Darius discusses as well, I’m a snoozer – whenever I set an alarm for the morning, I always snooze it at least once. So I wanted to read this book for my own benefit… So I could work on improving my habits.
- Candidly, we have conversations with a lot of individuals who also procrastinate. It is not uncommon for a person to reach out and meet with our advisors to discuss improving their financial situation, and then just… pause. There’s a variety of reasons for this, for example: some people might feel ashamed or embarrassed about their financial situation, others might have a perceived lack of time, or maybe it’s just the feeling of complexity and overwhelm. Whatever the case may be, I thought this could be a great book to read and to discuss today – maybe we can teach our listeners something new.
So, before I get into asking each team member a couple of questions, I’m going to give an overview of procrastination.
What is Procrastination?
At its core, procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing tasks, activities, or responsibilities that need to be accomplished. It involves choosing to do something less important or enjoyable instead, even if it leads to negative consequences in the long run.
A highly cited study, published in the American Psychological Society journal, by Dianne Tice and Roy Baumeister discusses the cost of procrastination. It is related to:
- Irrational beliefs.
- Low self-esteem.
Procrastination can affect various aspects of our lives, including work, academics, personal goals, and even important decision-making processes.
All of that is to say that procrastination is not innocent behavior. It’s a sign of poor self-regulation. In the book, the author says that researchers even compare procrastination to alcohol and drug use.
John, my first question is for you. Can you share an example from your life when you procrastinated? How did that affect the outcome?
Sure. As I was thinking through my life and all the times I’ve procrastinated, I realized there were more similarities than differences.
First, I want to say that there’s nothing good that can come from pushing something off that has to get done. By nature, with every minute that goes by, you’re losing the opportunity to get whatever it is done in the best way you possibly can – especially if there’s a deadline involved.
But one of the things I noticed is by pushing things back, there’s this trickle-down effect to the rest of your life. For example, maybe you pushed something off and now you have to stay up late to get it done.
One of the things that happens to me is… I like to try to work out every day. Let’s say I wake up late one morning and I don’t get an early workout in, that has an effect on me during the day. It’s hanging over my head. I know I have to do it, but I don’t know when, and it has this effect on my mood.
So for me, I try not to put things off. It helped me to be more mindful of the effect that procrastination had on the rest of my day. Now, I plan more.
Yeah, I think a lot of people can relate to that… But in talking about procrastination, Darius obviously wants to provide solutions.
One of those solutions is using prioritization. Marc, my next question is for you: What methods or techniques does Foroux recommend for identifying and focusing on the most important tasks? How do you prioritize tasks in your own life?
How to Identify and Focus On Your Most Important Tasks
He provides a couple of different strategies… But two really resonated with me.
First, he suggests doing a 30-minute ritual every night before bed. Part of that ritual involves reviewing the following day’s calendar. Of course, something can come up that throws a monkey wrench in it, but regardless, planning ahead can set us up for success.
So you want to figure out:
- What are some of your upcoming deadlines?
- Do you have any important meetings tomorrow?
- What is due tomorrow?
Answering these questions will help you identify your priorities. A byproduct of this activity is it helps remove some stress and anxiety.
Again, it’s impossible to set a perfect schedule for the following day, but it’s useful to get in front of the tasks you need to complete – the most important things.
The other thing that he talks about is time blocking. Time blocking is a productivity technique for time management where a period of time – typically a day or week – is divided into smaller segments or blocks for specific tasks or to-dos. It integrates the function of a calendar.
What’s good about this technique is you let your calendar lead away, which alleviates decision fatigue.
Darius also suggests using recurring blocks for recurring tasks, since a lot of our days are similar.
Some people love time blocking, some people hate it. It’s not a new concept, and I’ve tried it before. I had some trouble sticking to my calendar, so instead, I use the Google app Tasks.
In the Tasks app, I create a list of the things that need to get done in a given day. I do the same thing he suggests – I plan it the day before. Items in the list are in order of priority, and I do have recurring tasks as well. That’s the strategy that works for me.
I liked that. On a similar note, he also suggests keeping track of how you spend your time, which can be done before you try time blocking. If you’re new to trying to schedule out your day or want to get more control over your time, it helps to make note of the things you’re doing throughout your day so you can see where to block tasks in. This also allows you to eliminate times of distraction.
My next question is for you, Kayla. The book talks about overcoming perfectionism and embracing the idea of “good enough.” What are your thoughts on this? How can striving for perfection hinder productivity?
I thought this was a very interesting chapter.
I always thought perfectionists have it all together. It’s in the name, after all. But he presents this idea that perfectionism is just another form of procrastination.
He made some good points. For example, when you’re a perfectionist, you’re always waiting for the right moment, but we all know the “right” moment is never going to come. And then they never make mistakes because they’re afraid to take action and they always need more time because the right time is just never going to happen.
The author says there’s two types of perfectionists: One who never starts the task, and one who starts, but has too high of standards, so they quit.
In this chapter, Foroux also explains that the opposite of a perfectionist is a slacker. By definition, they don’t care/they can’t find meaning in things. So he was presenting this idea that you need to find a balance between having some perfectionist tendencies, but also, at points, knowing when you need to be a slacker and not care.
Yeah, I could definitely relate to some of the ideas that he shared in that chapter.
Okay, now back to you, John. The author suggests that planning and organizing tasks can lead to greater productivity. How have you implemented effective planning strategies into your own life, and how have they helped you accomplish tasks?
How to Implement Effective Planning Strategies Into Your Own Life
A lot of my thoughts are related to what Marc said about time blocking…
Throughout my career, I’ve tried a lot of different things to keep me on track. Time blocking does really help me, even if it doesn’t always go perfectly. It just helps me get a better idea of what I want my day to look like. And let’s say that you time block a 10% day. Well, if you get through 80-90% of those tasks, that’s still a good, productive day.
The perfectionist chapter really actually resonated with me in relation to this. Part of it’s because I would use the time blocking technique, but over time I gave up because I wasn’t perfect. So I have to be really careful with how I set that up.
When I have a goal – whether it be working out daily, training for a certain race, or accomplishing something financially – if I fall off the plan, I can be in danger of falling off completely. So the perfectionist part really resonated with me.
I’m going to continue to tweak my process, so it’ll probably continue to take on different forms, but right now I find it helpful to plan for the week on a Sunday night. My wife and I will do this together, because I want to make sure I’m taking her into consideration as well.
Once the week is laid out, you can use that night routine Darius suggests… Ask yourself:
- How did the day go?
- What can you do better?
- What do you want to do the next day?
I’ve found that both of these things have really helped.
I love reading these books, because I’m always open to the recommendations and ideas as to how I can be better. And this book really got me thinking as to how I can be more productive.
There was one part of the book that really hit home for me, which was the mantra section. I know it sounds so cliche to have a mantra, but Darius was saying that if he finds himself procrastinating, or not wanting to start a new task, he’ll say to himself, “Let’s go.”
It’s as simple as that: “Let’s go.”
So if you’re putting off going to the gym, say to yourself, “You know what? Let’s go.” Then get up and go to the gym.
To bring what you were just talking about together, John… Say you have a time block for an hour set to read a book, and you get a notification on your phone that then brings all of your attention to the phone – you’re distracted. If you realize you’re 20 minutes into the hour time block to read, but you’re distracted by your phone, you have two options:
- You no longer read.
- You encourage yourself to put the phone down and read.
In the second instance, a mantra can help. Say to yourself, “Let’s go. I’m reading now. Put the phone down.”
So I believe mantras are useful in that context. And another mantra that you could use is the name of the book: “Do it Today.”
Transitioning here into talking about accountability, which is another theme in the book, Marc, how can you hold yourself accountable for your goals and task and how can you involve others in the process?
How to Hold Yourself Accountable
Whatever our goals or tasks are, we want to get them done, right? But if no one is holding you accountable, you can become a slacker. It’s easier to say, “I’m going to do this tomorrow” than it is to say “I’m going to do this today.”
So, just like Foroux, I’m a big proponent of accountability.
Being accountable to your goals is one thing, but having accountability for the actions that lead to your goals is arguably more important.
We do it as a team… We meet every day to discuss the different projects we’re working on. One of our current projects is systematizing our operations, and all of us are involved. Each of us works on different parts of these playbooks, and we assign deadlines to them, which holds each other accountable.
You can also look at what we do as financial advisors. We’re essentially accountability coaches for our clients. Like Kyra mentioned at the beginning of the episode, sometimes people come to us motivated to improve their finances, but then procrastinate. Well, when you work with us, we provide accountability. If one of our clients tells us their goal is to retire by age 60, we will tell them exactly what they have to do to get there. And we will meet with them recurrently to assess their progress and keep them on track. In essence, we hold our clients accountable for what they tell us is important to them.
I think accountability is enormous in the message of this book, doing things today.
Yes, having an accountability partner is so beneficial. We really are that for our clients.
So, my last question is for Kayla. The book ends with an article about the power of compounding. How does Darius explain the way that success adds up through building momentum?
How Success Adds Up Through Momentum
In this chapter, Foroux goes over how you can’t just do everything at once – you have to focus on one thing at a time.
He uses the example of happiness… He says that most of us think happiness happens at once, but that’s obviously not true – it’s progressing over time. I liked this quote:
“Success is sequential, not simultaneous.” – Darius Foroux
Most of us are so focused on the outcome that we forget about all the steps involved in reaching that outcome.
In the chapter, he uses Warren Buffet as an example. There’s a net worth chart that actually illustrates the idea of compounding. He talks about how Warren Buffet didn’t make 99% of his net worth until after he turned 50, and he just hits home the fact that you can achieve big things with small actions over time.
Yeah, I liked that chapter a lot. It was a great way to close out the book.
Alright, that’s all of the questions I had for you guys today. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and takeaways.
For anyone listening who’s interested in reading Do It Today, the book is available on Amazon. It’s short – less than 200 pages – and can be read in small increments. I think there are a lot of useful takeaways, and it’s definitely the kind of book that you can pick up again a year from now and re-read, then apply more to your life.
Marc, I’ll hand it over to you to close out the episode.
Thanks, Kyra. And thank you to everyone who tuned in to today’s episode. Don’t forget to follow The Agent of Wealth on the platform you listen from and leave us a review of the show. We are currently accepting new clients, if you’d like to schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with our advisors, please do so below.