Famous French author Victor Hugo was a victim of procrastination. In summer 1829, he struck a deal with his publisher that he’d finish writing his new book, titled The Hunchback of Notre Dame, in exactly one year. By summer 1830, he hadn’t even written a word. He went out on adventures, hosted elaborate dinner parties, and basically did everything except work on his novel. I’m betting he even started working on other novels instead of the one he was supposed to finish.
The publisher was frustrated with Hugo’s progress and set a daunting deadline – finish the novel in 6 months, by February 1831, or find yourself another publisher! Hugo knew he had to take drastic measures if he was going to finish his novel. So, he commanded his servant to strip him naked and remove all his clothes from his home. The servant was to return his clothes only after he finished his novel. Victor Hugo was only left with a large shawl to keep him warm.
Now he couldn’t invite his friends over if he wasn’t wearing clothes (unless it was a friend with benefits) and he certainly couldn’t leave the house naked. Therefore, he had no choice but to sit at home alone and write The Hunchback of Notre Dame! He ended up finishing his novel in 5 months and 2 weeks. Incredible, isn’t it? He lived naked for almost half a year. It seems that clothes are a barrier to productivity.
In today’s world, guilty procrastinators can employ a similar strategy – ask a friend to not just remove all your clothes from your house, but also other distractions like your phone, TV, etc. If you don’t need the Internet to do your work, ask the friend to confiscate your modem and router as well. But if you do need the Internet, maybe you can request your Internet service provider to block access to social media and other irrelevant websites until you complete your task at hand.
Lastly, if you’re really serious about beating procrastination, do what ancient Greek orator Demosthenes did and shave one side of your head so that the shame keeps you indoors instead of going out and getting distracted. Demosthenes resorted to such drastic measures when he needed to stay at home and rehearse his speeches. Whatever strategy you settle on, just remember that time is finite. Every life comes with a death sentence. Don’t take forever to do something, because you aren’t going to live forever.