Tim Urban on Overcoming Procrastination and Finding His Voice Through Experimentation


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By Ozan Varol. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Tim Urban is best known as the writer and illustrator behind the incredibly popular blog Wait But Why, which has garnered millions of unique page views and famous fans like Elon Musk. His deeply researched long-form posts on everything from artificial intelligence to procrastination buck the conventional wisdom that internet writing should be short or SEO optimized to be successful.

A former film composer and professional tutor, Tim has parlayed his conversational writing style into a sideline of speaking engagements. His 2016 TED talk on procrastination has been viewed more than 30 million times.

You can subscribe to the Wait But Why Newsletter at https://waitbutwhy.com

In this episode Tim and I discuss:

  • Why he wrote a 90 page college thesis in only 72 hours
  • Strategies for overcoming procrastination
  • What motivated Tim to give up his music career to become a professional blogger
  • How Tim developed his writing craft in the sandbox of blogging
  • The value of experimentation, having fun, and drawing stick figures
  • Why Tim ignores the ‘short and sweet’ blogging format and writes long, book-length posts
  • What he learned from failing to take advantage of a big opportunity in Hollywood
  • What exciting trends in technologies and psychology may end up in future Wait But Why posts

And in this episode Tim also answers a couple questions from Inner Circle members:

“Where do you get ideas for your blog?”

“How do you pick a popular topic but avoid repeating someone else’s rants on the same issue?”

Resources mentioned:

Tim’s TED Talk: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life by Nir Eyal

The story of Odysseus and the Sirens is from the Odyssey by Homer


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As always, thanks for listening.

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