We all have those tasks or projects that, despite our best intentions, we find ourselves procrastinating. It might be a new behavior or practice that we want to create a habit around, like exercising or meditating. Or it might be a personal or professional project that we want to accomplish, like writing an essay or report or creating a program or product.
In this episode, we offer a practical strategy that can help you overcome the tendency to procrastinate or to simply not do the things that you intend to do.
- Procrastination may be a bad habit but it’s not necessarily a character flaw. Often, It’s just a sign that you need to put a better system into place.
- Seeing a large project on your to-do list often creates inertia and overwhelm, but seeing microtasks on the list can create clarity and fuel progress.
- Once the microsteps that initiate a task have been repeated enough times, you can usually stop planning them as separate tasks.
- Keep your greater goal (and objective) in view so that you don’t get lost in the tasks.
Lab Experiment (download a copy)
- Pick something that’s been on your to-do (or to-change or to-start) list forever without making any progress.
- Brainstorm the very first steps that you’ll take–or even the preparatory steps that you need to before you can start. Do you need supplies or information that you don’t yet have? Do you need to enlist someone else’s support or input? Are there barriers that need to be removed?
- Schedule the first step or steps individually into your planner. When will you start? When will you finish? How will you know you’ve completed that step?
- When the appointed time comes, execute that first micro-step no matter what. We’re betting that having taken the first step, you’ll find it much easier to take the next one. But if you need to, keep scheduling (and executing) those microsteps until you find yourself in flow.