Daily Schedules in Combating Akrasia


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sentientplatypus

For the last several months I've had increasing troubles with motivation to work. Reading dense technical papers, writing, and exercise were all much more difficult to prompt myself into starting and completing. I decided to try making a plan for my day the night before about two weeks back to see if it would help me get the things I wanted to do done. So every night before I go to bed I've been writing up a schedule for the next day, detailing what exactly I want to accomplish for the day and when I intend to go do it. 

This has actually worked incredibly well for me in helping with my motivation problems, in fact in a couple days I felt more motivated to work than I can ever remember being before. I'm trying to change up my schedule and leave time for spontaneity to avoid having the plan become monotonous and it doesn't feel that way so far. And the results I'm getting are great: I find I get about 95% of what I plan done when I have a specific time written down for when I'm supposed to do it as opposed to what I'd roughly estimate at 60% completion when I just have some general idea in my head of what to work on over the course of the day. 

My theory for why this is working is that when I have a specific time to do something I feel as though I have to do it now or I've failed some test of willpower. If I just have general work to be done, it's far too easy for me to defer to later, so that a lot of what was planned for doesn't get done. I also feel like if I expect to brace my mind for dense technical learning I have a much easier time finishing the material instead of giving up and procrastinating on it halfway through. 

I feel like this solution will work mainly for people who have more flexible schedules (as I do at the moment) but could still serve a purpose for anyone with a more rigid schedule who wants to be more productive in their free time. 

Has anyone else has tried this type of thing and if so, how did it work out for you over a longer period of time? Also what are people's thoughts on the general idea?