Do you have an important project you need to complete, but you haven’t even gotten around to starting it yet? I know I have, and I’m in good company! In fact, up to 20% of the population consider themselves chronic procrastinators. The biggest cohort of people who don’t begin projects are below age 30. And in the 60 – 70+ year-old age range (boomers and older adults), females tend to put off tasks more than men.
For me, procrastinating causes stress and self-loathing. I know I need to get a project started before it becomes a crisis, but just can’t seem to motivate myself. It’s a characteristic I’ve had for many years, and now I’m working diligently to erase this particular self-talk.
Along that line, I’ve been enjoying a book by Keith Abraham, Focus—4 Fast Easy Strategies to Beating Procrastination Forever. This book is really a manual with lots of areas to write down dreams, goals, and important projects.
When it comes to procrastination—“the greatest robber of self-confidence”—Abraham says,
“The key to beating procrastination is not about finishing the task, it’s about starting the task.”
Abraham lays out a simple formula anyone can use to just begin a project. The idea is to get the momentum going so you can break through the mental block that’s holding your back.
It looks something like this:
First, write down the thing you are procrastinating about. Then consider these questions:
1) What you could do in the next five minutes to make a start?
2) Who do you need to call or text?
3) What simple task could you do to start it now?
4) What appointment do you need to make in your schedule?
Here’s how that plays out with a project I’ve been procrastinating about for the past 2 – 3 years, cleaning out and closing down a storage unit.
1) In the next five minutes, I can identify four Saturdays when we can work on this project.
2) I can call my daughter and see if she’s available to help, or one of my husband’s friends.
3) Right now, I can make sure I know where the key to the unit is.
4) I will make an appointment with myself for the first available Saturday, at 8:30 am, to begin this task.
What have you been putting off the the past few weeks, months, or even years? Apply this method to get some momentum started, and dump that monkey off your back!