How To Start Your Day To Beat Procrastination With WOOP

I recently found a new concept for beating procrastination that I find works really well. I took a class on Optimize called Conquering Procrastination, and it introduced me to the concept of WOOP. It’s easy to remember, and I’ve found that while using it for big goals is great, it can also be used at the beginning of your day to help deal with procrastination. Watch the following video of Brian Johnson talking about WOOP and check out my example below the video of how I used WOOP this morning.

Here are the main points from the WOOP video:

  • First, you need to identify your wish. What do you want to bring to life and when? The wish should be challenging but it should also be doable with the time frame that you’ve set out.
  • You then need to identify the outcome. This will be the reason for doing it, such as more money, more energy, more joy, etc. Essentially you need to sit back and visualize what it will be and feel like when you get your wish.
  • Then you need to identify the obstacles. These are the things that will get in the way of you getting the wish you want. This includes issues within yourself – fear, procrastination, worry, not devoting enough time to it, etc.
  • Lastly, you need to identify the plan – specifically an if-then plan. The plan should help you to get your wish. Take a look at the obstacles that could keep you from obtaining your wish and create a plan around that, including an if-then plan. For example, if your wish is to make a million dollars, then your if-then plan may be something like ‘If I lose my biggest income stream, then I will work on building ‘this other’ income stream.

My example using WOOP:

This morning I woke up and went into WOOP mode. It’s a special day for me because my husband is going back to work after a long year of the pandemic.  I know that he was not overly thrilled about this, but he is doing what he needs to do, and I want to make sure that I do what I need to do.

My Wish – I wanted to write a few posts on a few different websites. I also wanted to clean the house and make supper for my husband since this is his first day back at work.

The Outcome – I will feel productive and as though I’ve taken another step towards my goals. I will also feel happy that my husband comes home to a clean house and home-cooked meal after going back into a job that he wasn’t really looking forward to. I want to see him happy, not upset.

The Obstacles – YouTube and Twitter. I’ve been addicted to some channels on YouTube lately and will often say ‘I’ll just watch one video for a break’ and then end up watching 10 of them. Then, since I’m already not working, I get on Twitter and fall down the rabbit hole of doom and gloom.

The Plan – I will sit down and focus on my writing, then my cleaning, then my cooking. If I get the urge to go on YouTube or Twitter, then I will remind myself of the outcome that I want to achieve today. I will remind myself that my husband has gone back to work because he wants to contribute to this household, and I want to do the same – which won’t happen if I’m constantly on Twitter and YouTube.

This WOOP process can be applied to your nightly routine when you go over the next day’s goals, or it can be applied in the morning when you wake up and think about what you wish to accomplish most for the day.

You can download a worksheet I created for WOOP here if you are interested. It looks exactly like the image below.

woop worksheet

The concept of WOOP came from Rethinking Positive Thinking by Gabriele Oettingen.

And if you are interested in the book, but don’t want to sit down and read the entire book, Optimize also has the big ideas from Rethinking Positive Thinking as a philosopher note here.

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