There are a million excuses for procrastinating, but they all boil down to a common theme: you avoid getting started. Starting a task or project is often the hardest part and it generally comes down to one of two reasons:
- It’s too big
- It’s not fun
Breaking through the Starting Line
Try using a “dash” to give yourself that needed kick in the ass. A dash is a short burst of focused activity during which you do nothing but tackle one item on your to-do list for a very short chunk of time.
- Set up a small time- or unit-based dash to start making progress
- The Pomodoro Technique is hugely popular – 25 minute dashes followed by 5 minute “reward” breaks
- Or try a progressive dash by starting with a really short timer and adding more time after each round of dashes
Why will it work?
It’s often easier to motivate yourself to work in these short chunks when there is a clear goal and a definite end in sight. In some cases you might even find it easy to continue working once you have some momentum.
I can already hear you groaning about spending a whole 25 minutes on some boring drudge work. Guess what? Succeeding at a task does not require that you actually like doing it. It’s OK to acknowledge that you don’t like it, but force your self to work anyway–even if only for a 10 minute “sprint”. If you still hate the task at the end of the timer, you can reward yourself with a break or switch to something less painful. If after 10 minutes you are in the zone, keep on working!
Are dashes not working for you? Got a better idea?