I rarely procrastinate. My secret? Self discipline, the usual tricks plus I try to live by “do more of what you like and less of what you dont.” Let’s face it if you enjoy something you wont procrastinate on it. But there was one project that I just wouldn’t start. It was important and each day I’d find a bunch of other productive things to do but not this project. So I tried to figure out why I’m procrastinating. Is it because I don’t have time? That’s true but I never “have time” and accomplish plenty. Is it because I don’t enjoy it? No, because there are some parts of this project that I do enjoy. I couldn’t figure it out.
Then I had an epiphany- the project was just too big. I could start of course but there’s so many places to start from. You cant just do a project. Then I quickly spelled out each tasks. Some of which were fun others weren’t. Now I can just check off the items as I do it. There will be tasks I don’t enjoy as much but those are just individual tasks and I can reward my self with fun tasks after.
This isn’t a novel concept and is the basis behind Getting Things Done‘s Next Actions. Break down big projects into small actionable parts. Actionable means something you can do something about. For example, create web site isn’t a next action. You break it down into brainstorm site sections, design theme, design home page etc.
Next time you find yourself procrastinating ask yourself why.
I finally got started on my big project. Now you start on yours. Let me know why you were procrastinating and what you did to beat it.
Take Away: Find the reason you’re procrastinating and work around it.