How To Never Get Anything Important Done

If you’re like me, you’ve lived a large number of meaningless days. If not, you’re in luck, because I am going to share with you the secret of how I’ve done it.

I’m not as good at it as I used to be, because I’ve occasionally broken through the five barriers that ensure nothing meaningful happens. But if these barriers hold for you, they will protect you from getting anything important done. And don’t worry if you bust through the first one – we have backup!

Barrier 1: You’ve Got Time – Do It Tomorrow

Why have a lot of fun and fulfillment later when you can have a tiny amount of fun today? It’s a good idea to delay action, because you’ve got years ahead of you. Now, it’s true that today is one of a limited number of days in your life, but don’t think about that. Think about how it seems like you’ll be alive forever.

Barrier 2: Don’t Plan Anything

If you see the urgency of doing meaningful things, that hurts the cause, but this isn’t over yet. The next thing you can try is to go with the flow today. Please don’t carve out your own path, or you might end up doing some very important tasks.

Planning is very dangerous when your goal is to do nothing of importance for the full day. When you plan, you place an intention to do something important, which greatly increases the chance that you’ll actually do it (according to research). So avoid the urge to plan, especially in the morning, when you set the tone for the day. Just roll out of bed and do whatever!

Barrier 3: Leave Triggers Out Of Your Plan

Say you plan something. Fear not! There is another great way to stop yourself from doing what matters. All you have to do is leave out triggers.

A trigger is something that activates a task. So if you say that you want to run today, just leave it vague. That’s perfect. Then at 10 PM, you’ll realize it is too late and you can do it tomorrow. There is always tomorrow. You’ll have escaped a meaningful workout, by overcoming your plan barrier.

Barrier 4: Make Your Steps Huge or Vague

At this point, if you’ve broken through the first three barriers, it’s getting tough to avoid meaningful behavior, but I think we can still pull this off. Go back to your plans and revise them to make all of your tasks HUGE or vague. Either say, “I’m going to run a marathon today” or “I’m going to run today.” Don’t say “I’m going to run just beyond the driveway,” because that could get you started and you might take off with it. Dangerous!

The bigger and less clear your steps are, the better chance you have at doing nothing important.

Barrier 5: Do Not Focus!

Now if you manage to…

  1. Understand that you have a limited number of days to live
  2. Make a plan to do something meaningful
  3. Set up a triggers for your important tasks
  4. Set small first steps

Things look dire indeed, and there is just one last opportunity to squander the day – absolutely do not focus! If you learn to focus in the moment, you’re going to be impossible to stop. You’ll start knocking out your important tasks and goals, and your days will be meaningful. It’s bad news.

If all of these barriers fail you, I’m very sorry. I did the best I could to explain exactly how to never get anything important done. It’s a formula I perfected in my earlier years, but I’ve had much more trouble recently with these barriers interfering.

If you come visit my blog, Deep Existence, we can talk more about these barriers and how focusing is the “worst” one. If you sign up for my Tuesday newsletter, I’ll give you my Stress Management eBook and 40 custom-made 1080p focus wallpapers as welcome gifts. Sign up here and say hello!

Photo credit


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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