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No More Procrastination! Three Effective Strategies from Marketing

· 9 min read
Procrastination can feel like a tough monster to beat. But you can beat it with strategies from marketing!

Do you often find yourself procrastinating or struggling to stay focused on your goals? It's a common problem, but there are powerful strategies you can use to overcome it. By adopting a marketing mindset, you can tap into tools like branding, packaging, and rewarding to make your tasks more appealing and easier to manage. Learn how to use these strategies in today's post!

We've all been there. We've all had that one project or one task that we keep putting off. It's not that we don't know what's important, and when things are due. But it just seems like there's always something else we could be doing instead.

Procrastination is such a common challenge. In fact, researches and surverys continue to suggest a big proportion of people (>20%) are chronic procrastinators. So, if you're struggling to overcome procrastination, know that you're not alone.

We made HeroMode to help us and others be joyfully productive. And part of that is to combat the procrastination monster. When building HeroMode functionalities, we actually found a lot of inspiration from marketing. So, here we share with you three marketing strategies to stop procrastination: branding, packaging, and rewarding.

But before we dive into these strategies, first we need to think like a marketer. That means knowing who is your audience, and what you are selling.

You are Your Own Audience

In his seminal book, "The Righteous Mind", psychologist Jonathan Haidt describes the "The Elephant and the Rider" analogy. It's a useful way for thinking about behaviour change. The rider is rational and analytical, and knows the best direction to go. The elephant, on the other hand, is instinctive. Despite the rider being the one giving direction, the more powerful elephant is the one that actually puts their feet on the ground and determines where to go.

The elephant rider analogy introduced by Haidt.

In terms of procrastination, you are both the rider and the elephant. You know what you should be doing as the rider, but the elephant side of you draws you towards the more pleasurable and easier activities.

So, how do you get the elephant to go where you want it to go? Well, you need to understand what the elephant wants. And that's where marketing comes in. Your elephant side is your audience, and your rider side is the marketer, selling the product which is the task you want to do.

Now that we have a marketing mindset, let's get right into the strategies.

Branding: Making Your Tasks More Appealing

When it comes to productivity, the way you frame a task can make all the difference. Just like how parents might trick their kids into eating vegetables by pretending the spoon is an airplane, you can use similar tactics to make your tasks more appealing. This is where branding comes in.

Just like companies use branding to create a unique identity that sets them apart from their competition, you can use branding to create a unique identity for your tasks. By branding your tasks in an appealing and engaging way, you can make them more desirable and increase your motivation to tackle them.

So, how can you brand your tasks? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Give them exciting names: Instead of labeling a task as "write a report", how about "craft a compelling narrative"? By giving your tasks exciting and descriptive names, you can make them more enticing.

  • Use visuals: Just like how companies use logos and images to create brand recognition, you can use visuals to make your tasks more memorable. This could be as simple as creating a colorful mind-map or doodle to represent your task.

  • Create a storyline: We all love a good story, so why not create a narrative around your task? This could involve creating a backstory or imagining the end result of completing the task. By framing your task in a compelling way, you can motivate yourself to see it through to the end.

By incorporating branding techniques into your productivity strategy, you can make your tasks more appealing and increase your motivation to tackle them head-on.

Branding Your Tasks in HeroMode

If you are already familiar with HeroMode, then you can probably guess how we incorporated "task branding". Instead of thinking about "tasks" and "projects", we think about "quests" and "adventures". You are not just someone who needs to do the dishes. You are a Hero who will be embarking on the quest of doing the dishes, along the adventure of having a clean home.

In addition, we also use a lot of visual elements to make the quests really pop. You can customize your adventures with colors and icons. Then, all quests that are part of that adventure will also be decorated with the same theme. This make the quests list prettier.

an example quests list.

Above: HeroMode helps you brand your tasks as exicting and visually engaging quests.

Packaging: Making Your Tasks Bite-Sized

You, the rider, tells yourself, the elephant, to do the math problem set. The problem set is a big task and very daunting, so the elephant opens a browser tab and starts watching YouTube instead.

This is a common scenario. When a task is too big, it's hard to get started. We all put off starting a project when it feels like an enormous, insurmountable challenge.

This is where packaging comes in. I've loved Skittles since I was a kid (controversial opinion: purple > red > yellow > orange > green). But later on, I learned that they aren't all that healthy, so I stopped eating them. Yet, once a while, when I see those fun-sized little Skittles packages, I'll enjoy one.

Packaging up your tasks into such small, fun-sized, or bite-sized pieces can help get you started. For example, instead of "do the problem set", you tell the elephant to "do the first problem". This sounds much more manageable, and the elephant is more likely to get started.

By packaging your tasks into bite-sized pieces, you can make them less intimidating and more achievable. The key is to create tasks that are specific, measurable, and doable within a short amount of time. By doing so, you'll be able to make progress towards your larger goal, step by step, without feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.

Packaging Your Tasks in HeroMode

In HeroMode, quests are meant to be small and bite-sized tasks. And you can even further breakdown a quest into subtasks with checkboxes!

Quest checkboxes can break down a task into even smaller subtasks.

More over, you can "chain up" many small quests so that you can do them one at a time. For example, have each problem in the problem set be a quest, and chain them up to be unlocked after the previous problem is done. This way, you are setting up a path of breadcrumbs for your elephant to follow. The elephant doesn't have to worry about all the problems at once. It just needs to go towards the next breadcrumb. This is also a great strategy for learning a new skill, or reading a book.

Breaking down a book into its chapters, and have one quest at a time.

Above: Use HeroMode to break down reading a book into many smaller quests. And you can lock each quests until the previous chapter has been completed.

Rewarding: Incentivizing the Elephant

Reward programs are everywhere these days. From credit cards to airlines to super markets, even your neighborhood coffee shop, they all offer some sort of reward programs.

That's because, even if the rational rider may want to deny it, our elephant side responds to rewards. Whether it's a bonus at work, a delicious treat, or just a few minutes of free time, we all crave the feeling of being rewarded for our efforts.

This is why if you want to stop the elephant from procrastinating, you need to incentivize it. You need to give it a reason to get started and keep going.

Rewarding for Tasks in HeroMode

Rewarding is a big theme in HeroMode and there are many ways rewards are built into the app. First, you earn points for completing each quest. You can also earn coins, which can then be used in your very own Piggy Rewards System.

Rewards can also come from a sense of accomplishment. So HeroMode makes it easy to see your progress and track your milestones.

By incorporating rewards and incentives into your productivity strategy, you can keep your elephant right on track with HeroMode.

Overcoming Procrastination with Marketing Strategies

Procrastination can be a tough habit to break, but with the right strategies, you can overcome it and boost your productivity in a big way. By adopting a marketing mindset, you can tap into powerful strategies like branding, packaging, and rewarding to make your tasks more appealing and more manageable.

So next time when you're feeling overwhelmed or stuck in a rut, think like a marketer. Get creative, try new approaches, and remember that with the right mindset and strategies, you can accomplish an unbelievable amount. Good luck on your productivity journey, and happy questing!