Don’t Be Fooled By Your Mind Again… Get Things Done.

Don’t Be Fooled By Your Mind Again… Get Things Done.

Posted by on Feb 21, 2011 in Productivity Tips

Don’t Be Fooled By Your Mind Again… Get Things Done.

I’ve shared a simple productivity tip a few days ago at the conference in London. It’s called Do It Now.

All you need to do is to put up a sign Do It Now! above your desk or PC and every time you consider postponing your task, the sign will remind you that you should do it now.

You’ll find that if you just deal with everything that comes at you (emails, to do list, …) immediately, you’ll become very productive.

But soon there were more and more ideas shared on Facebook on which books can help you improve your productivity even more.

But my feeling is that it’s just another trick of our mind. Here’s why…

If you’re an adult, you have two conflicting parts in your mind: the childish mind and the adult mind.

The childish mind (also called the inner child) is a pure child. It craves attention, approval, looks for instant gratification (does not think about long term consequences) and is very manipulative.

Ever seen a 8 year old boy / girl manipulate his parents or even more common, his grandparents? πŸ˜‰

They are consciously acting – perhaps trying to be cute, perhaps being annoying – basically testing various behaviours in order to achieve whatever they want at the moment. And in most cases they win – because grandparents especially cannot resist their charms. πŸ˜‰

Well, that manipulative inner child is still inside of you and it hates work, it hates dull tasks and is simply looking to have as much fun as possible and discover interesting new things.

The adult part of you things logically and is thinking long term. It’s willing to do what needs to be done in order to get the result it planned.

These two parts of you are fighting for your attention all the time.

Each wants to get what it wants – the difference is this though: the childish part is manipulative and the adult part is not. That’s why the childish part can only be controlled if the adult part is smart enough to see through its tricks.

Here’s the trick the inner child just wanted to play on you: we’re talking about productivity and getting things done. The inner child hates work and therefore suggests reading more books.

β€œYeah, that will keep us occupied, we’ll discover something new again (the inner child also craves novelty!) and we won’t have to work!”

You just fell for its latest trick. πŸ˜‰

β€œHow to avoid working and not feel too guilty about it? Well, lets read a book. Surely, that sounds like working, right? β€œ

I don’t think you need another book.

Imagine this scenario: bad guys kidnap your most loved person and their demand is simple – as soon as you complete everything on your to-do list for the day, they will return your most beloved person back to you.


If you really imagine this clearly, you know that you’d be totally focused on the task at hand and wouldn’t be distracted by anything around you.

You’d turn off TV, Ipad, your phone, close the email client and get to work. You’d do anything to get your love back.

You wouldn’t need any productivity book to get things done very efficiently.

If you agree with the above thinking, then know that when you were considering getting another book about productivity, you were fooled by your childish mind. πŸ˜‰

Don’t be fooled again. The childish mind needs to get what it wants too – but that should be when we DON’T work. (You need to have time for that too – but it comes AFTER work!)

Watch an action movie, play a game of Tetris, enjoy a game of tennis and have fun with kids.

But when it comes to your freedom, you need to be head of the family. The adult you needs to take control and make things happen…

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  1. Thanks Tomaz,

    Just what I needed!

    Now back to work.



  2. For sure, the child in me is drawn to the shiny penny.

    And having raised four daughters and now enjoying nine grandchildren, I can tell you kiddies like to procrastinate. In fact I call one grandson who is into Star Wars, Darth Dilly Dally. πŸ™‚

    However, even being a grandma, I still fall for checking the forum one last time before I start my reply to a question on my website. So my adult-self wants to tell you this was very timely.

    And as Quan said, back to work.

    Thanks, Kate


  3. Very true. I let my childish mind win too often, so instead of having a glass of wine with dinner tonight then getting too sleepy to do anything productive afterwards, I’ll stick with water and get some work done after the kids go to bed. The kid in me shouldn’t be drinking wine anyway. πŸ™‚



  4. Tomaz,

    That is such a true thing that takes place, it`s almost like you`re continually fighting with yourself to be productive. I guess it`s all about focus and keeping yourself moving forward. I`m off to find a sticky note `Do It Now!`



  5. Guilty as charged! My inner child has been winning too often. Yesterday, I intended to write 2 or 3 excellent articles and add them to my site. The result?

    By the end of the day I had read 10 articles about link building, keyword niches, etc., and watched 1 hour of TV, but not one page was added to my site. I had written one excellent headline and a whopping 48 words of content. Not good.

    Today was a different story. I gave myself an impossibly short deadline (Parkinson’s law) and my 48 words expanded to a quality 1145 word article in 45 minutes.

    Thanks, Tomaz. That’s just the kind of positive reinforcement I needed. Do It Now!



  6. I hate to recommend another book…

    But after you all finish creating the content and links that you promised you would do today go get “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath.

    Better yet, just read page 263. “I know what I should be doing, but I’m not doing it…” Start with the most trivial thing you can do – right at this moment – that would represent a baby step towards your goal. How can you tweak your environment so that you’re ‘forced’ to change? Behavior is contagious. Get someone else involved with you so that you can reinforce each other.

    I stopped reading emails before 10:00am. And got my husband involved in some of my website building efforts.

    And Pat…1145 words is AWESOME!


  7. Awesome, this is my biggest sin in IM. Not sure if I should ask this. But I am just curious if you have any change in getting things done after the last Google post?


  8. Hi Jerrick,

    According to some other webmasters that have experienced this loss of rankings in Google, it takes exactly 3 months to regain the rankings…


  9. I think you are totally awesome because you seem unperturbed despite this small setback. Also, do you think there is a need to change any tactics to prevent such occurrences in your to do lists?


  10. I’ve heard of Do It Now as a productivity technique before, but I don’t use it myself unless it takes less time to do the task than it does to write it down on a to-do list.

    For anything longer, I’ve found Mark Forster’s ‘Do It Tomorrow’ system works well:

    When something crops up, I put it on my list to do the following day. The next morning I’ve got a finite list of tasks to do (i.e. everything I wrote down yesterday).

    In an ideal world I’d get each task on the list done in one go, and as far as possible I do so.

    But I believe it’s more important to actually do something about everything on your list for any given day, even if you don’t see it through to completion. This keeps the momentum going.

    Talking of momentum, I’m a big believer in reducing the resistance to tasks by making them easier.

    The way I do it is this:

    The one rule is that every item on my daily to-do list must be given some time, even if it’s only a a couple of minutes. I estimate the time available to work, then ask myself, β€œ How long do I want to work on this for?”

    So, the thought of writing an entire article may seem too daunting. But saying, β€œOh, I’ll just do ten minutes” immediately reduces the resistance to starting.

    More often than not, more than ten minutes worth of work ends up getting done.


  11. Totally with you on the productivity books, Tomaz – what most of us really need are not more productivity systems, tips or tricks – we just need more good old self-discipline.

    Because come on, it’s not like we don’t know how to make and prioritize our to do lists, or what to focus on every day (that’s BS) – we all know pretty darn well what we should be doing – we just can’t make ourselves do it, that’s all.

    Last year I finally realized that I don’t need more learning either – I need more doing. Of course, you can never know it all and can always improve, but what I mean is that the knowledge I already have is more than enough to reach my income goal… if only I apply it.

    I can finally see this constant desire/urge to read/learn more for what it is – an illusion of progress, and it’s very addictive.

    For the past month I’ve been on a low-information diet (a la Tim Ferris) – I’ve unsubscribed from a ton of lists, cleared out my inbox, closed the gazillion of tabs in my browser, and installed some new habits re: checking email, etc – and I’ve got a HUGE amount of writing, publishing, PR and link building done!

    So yes, newbies need to read to learn what they don’t know yet, but everybody else just has to get out of their denial and start implementing.

    Oh, and finally, I came across this concept (don’t remember where) – every time you find yourself reading/learning something, ask yourself: Am I learning this just in case OR just in time? It really puts things in perspective.


  12. “”Am I learning this just in case OR just in time? It really puts things in perspective.”” – Great comment to bear in mind from one who has an ever growing collection of books:)


  13. Great post Tomaz! Loved it…does posting here count as child or adult?hehe

    My to do list just gets longer and longer, so now I wrote ‘DO IT NOW’ at the top of it, lets see how that works.

    Thanks again!


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