October 27, 2021
Q&A 047

🧪 Activation energy

We've written before about the perils (and also benefits) of procrastination. There is something about getting started that seems tough for a lot of us. A new way of looking at it come to me in an article by Anne Laure le Cunff (neurochemistry and mindful productivity expert) who drew fascinating parallels using the chemical term 'activation energy'

"In chemistry, activation energy is the energy that must be provided to result in a chemical reaction."

Based on the insights from this chemical process, some useful lessons can be drawn about starting up and defeating procrastination.

One of the first examples is breaking down the activation energy needed into smaller chunks. This can be accomplished by breaking down the task at hand into smaller chunks. Starting with a small task indeed feels a lot easier than starting a huge task, which is why this advice is often given.

Another strategy is called 'Energetic linking', linking the task or habit you are starting to an existing activity. Taking your vitamins every time you brew a pot of coffee is an example of this. Energetic linking immediately reminded me of Austin Kleon's 'chainsmoking' where he advises us to immediately start a new project after successfully completing one. The energy-high from a success makes it easy to get going on the next one.

The easiest hack, though, is making sure you have enough energy in the first place. Being well rested is the best start.