After hosting a family dinner one time, my husband and I loaded the dishwasher and put a particularly messy pot into the sink to soak. I filled it up with soap and hot water and stepped away to let it do its thing.
Later that evening, I remembered the pot but decided that it hadn’t soaked for long enough. I left it overnight.
A couple of days later, the pot was still in the sink “soaking”. I hadn’t cleaned it yet. My husband and I both built it up in our minds to be this huge, daunting task.
The pot had been soaking for almost three days, so it would have been an easy job, but in our minds it was a mountain. That’s because we were engaging in the worst form of procrastination.
Nobody is immune to procrastination, and there are some things on which you’ll procrastinate no matter what. I can give you all the procrastination hacks in the world but a few things still might not get done.
Here are some tips from the pros, however, that have withstood the test of time, which may get you over the mountain.
If it takes less than two minutes to start, start!
The two-minute rule is a well-known procrastination hack. If the task that you’ve been putting off takes less than two minutes to begin to complete, then start it.
Chances are, even just starting it will lead you to continue it.
Most small things take less than two minutes to start. The pot-cleaning task would have taken less than one minute to start. All I needed to do was dump out the stagnant water, fill the sink up with new hot water and soap. That is all that was needed from me to start.
Painting a room may not take under two minutes to start. You have to tape off the walls, mix the paint, pour it in, and prepare your equipment. If it is an important task that takes less than two minutes to start, employ one of the below methods.
Do the most important, dreaded task first – and don’t stop until it’s done
So your boss assigns you a project at work. You’ve procrastinated and put it off, and the deadline is coming up next week.
In your brain, it’s been worked up to be this huge, impossible project.
You don’t want to procrastinate on it any longer, because you want to meet the deadline or maybe even get it in before the deadline.
First thing tomorrow morning, do the project. Do it first, get in the zone, and don’t stop until you are done.
If you stop halfway through, it will take you quite awhile to get into the zone again, and you will just procrastinate through the last half of the project as well.
Get rid of distractions, close your office door, turn off email and just do the project through to the end.
Making a schedule to get something done instead of a deadline is one of the most practical ways to end your procrastination habit.
Do you have a business you want to launch that you have just been procrastinating on? Schedule it in. Maybe every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00 AM you do something else to work your way toward opening the business.
Or maybe it’s just a one-time thing, like washing the floors. Put it in your schedule. At 3:00 PM on Saturday afternoon, you’ll wash the floors.
If you have the task on a schedule physically, and you can see it in front of you, you’re far more likely to stick to it.
If the task isn’t a singular task like the floor washing, and is really a series of things you need to do to complete it like launching the business, be very specific about what you will do that day.
On the first Tuesday you’ll spend an hour researching. That Thursday, you’ll figure out the name of the business. Otherwise, you could spend a lot of time distracting yourself in the name of “research”.
These things will help end your procrastination habit if you employ them. After reading this article, go do one thing that you’ve been putting off by using one of these methods!
Sometimes I think I spend more time thinking about starting, than I do actually doing the task. 🙂
That needs to change! haha.