Complete one simple task to avoid procrastinating
I’ve been thinking about writing this blog post for a few days now, but for some reason, I kept procrastinating.
I don’t know why, but I would do anything else to avoid writing this article.
Finally, I started this post a few days ago by simply writing “Just get started” in the title field and saving the draft.
That took all of 10 seconds, and as you can see, “Just get started” didn’t turn out to be the final title of this article. But crafting the initial title and saving the draft in WordPress kickstarted the writing process and helped me get going.
Take that first step and the rest will follow
If you’ve been procrastinating on a new project or endeavor, taking that first step, no matter how unimportant or minuscule, can be the spark you need to get going.
We’ve all been guilty of procrastinating, and for plenty of reasons. Maybe procrastination happens because you’re scared no one will read that blog post or appreciate your work. Maybe you’re just tired or lazy. Or maybe that project is so daunting that you don’t know where to start.
There was a time when I had to build a marketing model and just had no clue where I should begin, so I put it off for weeks. Finally, I simply created and titled a Google Doc and typed in some column headers.
I had no idea if those were the right headers to use, and I had no idea what kind of data would fall under those headers. But by completing the simple task of creating the document and labeling columns, I was able to get into the mindset of doing and thinking about how to build the model. I wound up finishing the first draft of that marketing model within a couple of hours.
Regardless of the size or difficulty of the project, there shouldn’t be a reason why you can’t execute a simple task that takes 10 seconds. A project can be broken down into much smaller tasks, and something elementary like “create and title spreadsheet” can be one of them.
Once you get over the hurdle of starting, you’ll be amazed at what can happen after that.
Avoid procrastinating in work and life
This “just get started” mentality can apply to projects in both work and life.
I’ve been putting off installing a wall shelf for months. That Pottery Barn box chilled in my living room but was out of the way just enough for me to ignore it for months on end. So one Saturday I took the shelf out of the box and laid it out in the middle of the room.
Even though I couldn’t install it that day, that shelf that I had to step over was a constant reminder of an unfinished task that I needed to complete. Now this beautiful thing hangs on my living room wall and is adorned by life’s wonderful memories:
Another situation where this is applicable is exercise. There are times when I know I need to go to the gym but am lazy. So I’ll change into athletic clothes just so I get the feeling that I’m on my way to the gym. Next thing I know, I’m actually there, pumping iron.
Just do one simple task, and the rest will follow.
Procrastination is a powerful force that can lead to inactivity and a lack of productivity. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Completing a very simple task can get you over the hurdle of getting started.
And sometimes that’s all you need to get going.
Are there any projects or tasks that you’ve been putting off? What are some simple steps you can take to get started? I’d love to hear more in the comments.
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Image courtesy of Ludie Cochrane on Flickr.
2 thoughts on “Complete one simple task to avoid procrastinating”
This post is SO TRUE! Although I hate to admit it, I do procrastinate and for both smaller projects (folding laundry) and bigger projects (writing blog posts or creating accounting spreadsheets). But you are so right about just getting started even by writing the title or putting away one piece of clothing. It starts a chain reaction and next thing you know I can’t stop. Thanks for the reminder.
Ha, your accounting spreadsheet project is partially what inspired me to write this post!