April 21st, 2008

Getting Work Started
A Tip for Procrastinators

Good Monday everyone!

For most of us, it is the start of another week day. The procrastinator in some of us may still cling on the hems of Sunday’s lazy, comfortable sheets but listen, no matter how adept you are at putting off work, you have to do work eventually because that is what you are being paid to do. But a tiny voice in your head says, “but the deadline is still 2 days away!” Listen to this little guy and before you knew it’s Wednesday and you haven’t done a thing.

Yes, there are deadlines for work. But there’s also a deadline for when to start work. The difference is – you get to define it. The problem? Most of us do not clearly define our “start work deadline”.

Food Clock

Look at the time now. Select a realistic time to begin your work. For example, if you arrived at the office at 8:25am, settle down, turn on your PC and say, “By 8:35am, I am going to begin the introduction section for my report on Purple Running Bananas.” Be specific. If you are particularly bad at keeping promises with yourself, set a timer.

There’s another thing you can add to this statement to make it seem less daunting — decide on the amount of time you’d like to give your full attention to for this task. Make this span short and as non-intimidating as possible. How does working for 5 minutes sound like? Doesn’t sound like much work? Great. So go on and tell yourself this, “By 8:35am I am going to start writing the introduction for my report on Purple Running Bananas. I will work on it for 5 minutes.”

And for 5 minutes, starting at 8:35 am, give your full attention to the task at hand.

For me, the action of diving into work, if only for 5 minutes, is enough to give the push I need to start the day. Once the initial reluctance is done with, I usually find myself too absorbed in my work to notice that 5 minutes (or even 5 hours) have gone by.

If you find yourself not wanting to continue beyond the first 5 minutes, it’s okay. Remember, you have already accomplished your first goal of the day, so that’s progress! Keep setting mini goals like this throughout the day. You are likely to accomplish more this way than just sitting there, dreading about work.

Related Posts:
| More
I really like the idea of breaking up work into bite size chunks. I do it all the time and it makes a better product.
Damien Riley  at 8:52 pm on April 21, 2008
Good tip. I like to cram a lot too like do things when they are close to my deadline I guess I like the adrenalin rush hahaha... but sometimes because of the rush the product suffer sometimes overlook things this is a good tip
Earthlingorgeous  at 9:08 pm on April 21, 2008

@Damien - yes, the advantage of breaking up work into small chunks is thatyou tend to do slight edits and improvements to your previous efforts each time you start working on it again, therefore resulting in a better product.

@Earthlingorgeous - Yep, I used to tell myself that I work better under pressure and then when I need to rush to meet a deadline, I'd tell people, "if only I had more time..."
Ginger M  at 9:27 pm on April 21, 2008
Those are some good idea's. I can really relate when you say "Once the initial reluctance is done with, I usually find myself too absorbed in my work to notice that 5 minutes (or even 5 hours) have gone by." Most of the time it's just the dreading before hand that keeps me from doing what I should!
Zech  at 1:18 pm on April 22, 2008
Thanks Growing Happiness, I think having a start deadline will definitely help me get going on the stuff that really matters (but sucks). Gus The Possibility Hunter http://www.possibilityvirus.com http://www.boxofcrayons.biz
Gus  at 2:14 pm on April 23, 2008
ooh, glad your sweet comment led me here! I'm gonna bookmark you and come back to read more, looks like you have a lot of cool things in here. (Already read "Idea Killers" so true and a perfect time for me to read it.)
when skies are grey  at 2:10 pm on May 5, 2008
[...] Waiting Place? Just can’t get started on that awesome project? Why not use your hiatus to visit Growing Happiness and check out their tips for avoiding procrastination? Set a starting deadline for your next [...]
Possibility Virus » Blog Archive » Dr Seuss (life coach, poet and Oscar winner) waits for no man  at 10:18 am on May 6, 2008
I see this post, I think it'll be very useful to me, so I save it to read it later. Seriously. I didn't even realize it. Kill me now.
Anna  at 12:52 am on May 11, 2008

Add Comment

*Required. Email will not be published.