Five-Minute Procrastination Buster
Today’s article offers a simple remedy for procrastination. First though, it’s helpful to understand what’s behind procrastination. Master Coach Talane Miedaner contends that you can “procrastinate with purpose” if you let it show you the way forward. Here are six reasons you might be procrastinating, as identified by Talane (and paraphrased by me) along with some potential solutions¹:
Five Minutes To Start
Recently, I shared my version of #3 (above) with my client Norah, who is managing several major projects. I was in my 20’s when I dubbed this technique the “Swiss Cheese Approach,” which means poking a hole into a big-block-of-cheese-sized task. If you can picture this, I used to have a yellow Post-It® Note on my wall at work with a bunch of holes punched into it, reminding me to take this approach. Martha, my first boss, got a big kick out of my methods for motivating myself.
Norah and I came up with a spin-off of the Swiss Cheese Approach that we call: Five Minutes To Start. Just as the name indicates, this procrastination buster involves identifying a single action you can take within five minutes to get the ball rolling on any project that seems daunting. As simple as it is, Norah found that she was able to integrate this approach immediately and it is making a difference.
Your five-minute action might be a baby step or a big bold step — as long as it’s a step forward. When using this technique, challenge yourself to pick a significant step. Ask: What would really move this forward? Then, take that step whether or not you feel completely ready. For example, last month while gearing up for a project, I was tempted go my usual route of getting organized first and creating a project plan. Instead, I decided to place a phone call and make an appointment with someone I had hired to help me with the project even though I wasn’t 100% ready. That turned out to be a good move because the momentum accelerated more quickly and the organizational details fell into place on their own. The result is that I was able to complete the project in under three weeks instead of frittering away time getting ready!
What Can You Do In Five Minutes?
Think of something you want to make progress on by the end of this month. What is a five-minute action you will take today to begin moving it forward? Feel free to email me with the step you’re taking as that may create momentum for you as well.
“Tomorrow is often the busiest
day of the week.”
Here's to you,