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What to do when you are unmotivated, or want to procastinate


To tackle feelings of unmotivation or the inclination to procrastinate, leveraging your dopamine system can be very effective. explains that understanding how dopamine functions can significantly enhance motivation and help prevent procrastination. Here are some strategies you might find useful:

  1. Engage in Rewarding Activities: Introduce small, reward-based incentives for tasks to make them more appealing and increase engagement.

  2. Understanding Procrastination: Recognize if you are procrastinating because you thrive under imminent deadlines (using adrenaline) or because of a general lack of motivation triggered by inadequate dopamine release. For the former, you might find momentarily stressful but energizing activities helpful, like intense exercise or breathing exercises. For the latter, ensuring adequate dopamine production through diet or supplements might be beneficial, though it's important to consult a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

  3. Motivational Cues: Use cues that signal a reward is coming (like visualizing the outcome of finishing a task), which can elevate dopamine and spur action.

  4. Physical Activity: Physical activities, especially those that you might find challenging or uncomfortable like cold showers, can help rebound your motivation more quickly by causing a temporary spike in discomfort followed by a rewarding relief.

  5. Incremental Steps: Instead of tackling a whole task at once, break it into smaller steps. Completing these can provide incremental dopamine boosts that build up your motivation.

It's crucial to adapt these methods based on your personal reaction to stress and motivation 1 2 3 4 5.

Leveraging Your Dopamine System

Andrew discusses how leveraging your dopamine system can help you be maximally motivated and avoid procrastination. He shares a classic experiment done at Stanford that showed how introducing rewards can increase the time children spend on a particular activity. By understanding the neuroscience behind motivation, we can accelerate our progress towards any goal.

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Leverage Dopamine to Overcome Procrastination & Optimize Effort | Huberman Lab Podcast