Most of us suffer at one point or other with procrastination and putting things off.  It is a terrible trap to fall into, as a days worth of hard work allows for a week of mental relaxation while a day of slacking leads to a week of mental anguish.

The proper response to that is to have a system.  You can’t trust your gut.  Pilots and Surgeons use check lists for a good reason, and so should you.

A good place to start with this way of thinking is David Allen’s Getting Things Done:

When it comes to personal hygiene I seriously doubt that many of us have problems, even if we suffer occasional procrastination problems in other areas.

Why? Because we have a system.  We wake up, shower, brush teeth, put on deodorant, brush hair, (in my case apply Rogaine), etc.

We don’t even think about it.

Well here at the surf camp I broke the system.  I arrived at the camp last Saturday afternoon.  Sunday morning I woke up about to start my “system”.  I balked at the shower because I was about to go surfing anyway,and continued with the rest of my system.  As I was in and out of the ocean my whole stay I didn’t actually shower until the night before the 7 hour bus trip back to Panama City.

Playa Venao

As I was in and out of the ocean I don’t think I smelled bad.  To the extent that I did smell bad nobody would notice because everyone was doing the same thing,

Here is what is interesting:

You know when you are procrastinating surfing the web or whatever? You know what you have to do… but it’s just a chore to do it?

Well once I broke my daily hygiene system I suddenly would realize that I didn’t brush my teeth this morning or didn’t apply Rogaine, etc.

Once I realized that I didn’t do something, I went and did it, but it felt like a chore.  It was something I needed to do but I had to think about it and then get up and actually do it, and the whole time it felt like a burden.

Those of you who know me know I don’t have personal hygiene problems.

I don’t even think about it.  I have a system. Normally I wake up, brush teeth, shower, etc.

This idea of a system where you simply do what you need to do every day can also be applied to work.  To be productive you need a method of operating where you do what you have to do without even really thinking about it.

Then it won’t seem like a chore.

On a side note, my skin has never been better. (I occasionally suffer from mild eczema) though that could be a result of the relaxation instead of the multiple days of not showering.