Working Smarter: 3 steps to overcoming procrastination

Have you ever procrastinated? Silly question. I’ve come to think that the more brilliant you are, the more brilliant you are at procrastinating. I procrastinated while starting to write this blog (which may or may not make me brilliant), but it didn’t take me long to stop, and here’s how you can stop too:

  1. Buy a timer and set it for 15 minutes. I know your smartphone has already a timer, but get one that is more dramatic and that makes a statement, like the one pictured here. It’s a 15-minute hourglass timer. Fifteen minutes, by the way, is the perfect time because it goes undetected by your procrastination radar, which fears a much longer commitment.
  2.  Identify the target task and get started; the task you have been victimized by and where your procrastination has found a home. You have to endure this task for only 15 minutes. The fact that the end is near is amazingly energizing.
  3. Stop and celebrate. When the time is up, it is very tempting to continue. Don’t do it. Take a break. Acknowledge the fact that you just overcame one of the most powerful forces in the human psyche: procrastination. Give yourself kudos.

Check on how you’re feeling at this point. It is likely that you are feeling positive and ready to take on another 15-minute chunk. Or you can schedule the next 15-minute chunk for later in the day or week with your timer nearby.

Starting with a small interval of 15 minutes helps overcome mountains of procrastination because it allows you to dip a toe into the task, relieving you from the irrational fears that surround the task. Now that your mind is clear, you have the mental space to address the work itself, not the anxiety that is tied to the work.

Pierre Khawand is the founder and principal of People-OntheGo, a corporate productivity coaching firm. For more suggestions about how to increase your productivity, download his free eBook Results Curve™.

Pierre Khawand
Pierre Khawand is the founder and principal of People-OntheGo, a corporate productivity coaching firm. For more suggestions about how to increase your productivity, download his free eBook Results Curve™.
Pierre Khawand
Tags: Business,Downtime,Gadgets & Devices,Productivity
  • http://goldtradercommentsaugust2010.blogspot.com/ Cedric Ward

    I’m procrastinating buying my 15 minute timer.
    So, now what do I do?