This Terrifying Chart Helps Me Get Things Done

I stopped putting things off when I learned to see life as one big deadline

Eric Olszewski
Published in
4 min readJan 12, 2020


Photo: Maskot/Getty Images

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a procrastinator. Whereas a disciplined person’s workflow might look something like this:

All images: Eric Olszewski

Mine looked like this:

It’s not that I didn’t care about my work — most of the time, whatever I was supposed to be doing was on my mind the entire time I was supposed to be doing it. My struggle has always been that I just couldn’t get started. I’d sit down to accomplish something, and then — fully aware of what I was doing — start clicking through the deep abyss of the internet to read up on some obscure topic, such as radial engines or human behavioral economics. Time would fly by until panic set in, at which point I’d finally buckle down and do whatever it took to get through the assignment before me.

While this method filled my life with stress and anxiety, I always took it for granted as just the way I worked. And somehow, I always managed to get things done.

That is, until about a year and a half ago, when I found myself aimless and struggling more than usual to stay on task. After looking at how I spent my time, I realized I was suffering from too much freedom — I was simply overwhelmed by the multitude of options in my life, and it was preventing me from doing much of anything.

It was clear that I needed more structure. So I went through my Google calendar and started doing some careful regimenting. I scheduled my day to the minute, entering specific tasks, like showering and “email 10 therapists in Texas.”