This video is the record of a discussion Dr. Tim Pychyl from the Canadian Carleton University held in November 2012 about procrastination and how to help people deal with it. Dr. Pychyl has worked on this topic for over 20 years and published many papers, books, blogs posts, podcasts and videos about this topic. Basically, the summary of the techniques explained in his video is:
1. Procrastination is not a problem of time management, but of managing your emotions. People procrastinate, because they have negative feeling towards task they have to do and postponing these tasks gives them a better feeling for the moment. But eventually procrastination always leads to a negative outcome.
2. The feeling of accomplishment from finishing a task should be used to get even more tasks done.
3. If you do not know where you are in life or where you are going (lack of identity), you are more likely to procrastinate, because you do not have big life goals, which can be separated into smaller tasks towards these goals.
4. You are more likely to get things done, if your motives are intrinsic and not determined by other people or society.
5. If tasks on a to do list are to vague, they are more likely to never get completed. Every task should be broken down to concrete steps.
6. Secret formula: In situation X, do behavior Y to achieve sub goal Z.
Someone recommended this video in the comment section of a post on reddit
and I took a look on it. In the past I read many articles and books about
procrastination and time management, but this 60 minutes video was
honestly offering the best techniques to overcome procrastination I have ever
seen. Very soon after I started watching the video I knew that this man knows
what he is talking about. At first, I watched the whole video and after that I
looked through the single frames again to make screenshots of the
PowerPoint slides included in the video. I also took notes, which I always do
when learning something important for my personal development. Before
watching this video, I was already managing my tasks with Trello and Google
Inbox, which combines emails, tasks and notes. But I realized that some of
my tasks where in fact too vague and for that reason got postponed to later
dates too often. Separating those tasks into smaller pieces and assigning a
sub goal really helped me.
The learning goal was to help students deal with their procrastination
problems. I am a student and it helped me a lot. So yes, I achieved this goal.
Of course, I did not get cured immediately after watching this video, but it is
more of a long-term task for me to change my habits regarding the
postponement of tasks, I should do rather earlier than later. I think, I am on
my way to reach this goal, though.
The platform used here for publishing the video lecture was YouTube, which
is the best video platform I know, because of the speed of the servers, the
quality of the videos, the simple, yet highly functional design and the big
userbase, leading to many comments, of which some a really helpful.
The video itself had not the best quality, but it is also 5 years old, so maybe
the camera used back then was not as fine-grained as todays cameras. I
liked, that the producer of the video put the actual PowerPoint slides inside
the video, so I did not have to try to decipher them from the beamer slides
captured by the camera. I would have liked however to have the complete
PowerPoint file used in the presentation added as a download link in the
description, because it would have saved me the time for taking the
A big issue of most lectures I watched on YouTube is the audio quality. I
once watched a lecture about the PageRank algorithm by an Italian professor
speaking English with a thick accent, where the microphone was cheap and it
made it really hard to understand the topic. This video course however had a
real good audio quality and the professor – being Canadian – had a good
English pronunciation, so there were no problems in understanding his
There is not much to criticize here. The video could have been a little bit
shorter, if the professor would not have included some stories about his
family or former students, but I liked it, because it made the presentation