One Weird Trick to Stop Procrastinating
This Simple Brain Hack Frees You to Stop Procrastinating and Get Stuff DONE.
You’ve seen those online ads: “One weird trick to lose 20lbs!” “Try this weird trick for 6-pack abs!”
Total BS, no doubt.
But there is a no-doubt, no-BS trick for busting out of procrastination prison. And it works for even the most intimidating, nightmarish tasks on your to-do list.
In fact, it works especially for such tasks.
You know the ones…
The super-complex projects…
The cluster-funks involving multiple people and multiple moving parts on multiple timelines…
The “I-soooooo-don’t-want-to-dooooo-this” assignments…
By the way, this sense of dread in the face of many of our to-do’s is a big reason why our long to-do lists stay so damn long. Because our natural reaction is avoidance of the task (aka, procrastination), often in the irrational hope that it might somehow just go away, or that you’ll find some magic bullet idea that will result in its swift elimination through a sweeping act of ADHD-inspired genius.
Ya, that happens a lot. Not. Ever.
Anyway, if you can at all relate to this frustration, then you’ll want to let your mind munch on the disarmingly simple brain hack I’m about to share.
What I mean by disarmingly simple is that it mainly involves little more than the act of giving yourself permission. To fail in a small way. To be slightly imperfect. If you can just do that, this hack will work wonders for you.
To get us started though, I need to paraphrase Dr. Neil Fiore from his book The Now Habit. In it, he basically says the following…
Never look at a big project and say, “I have to finish that dang thing”. Because you’ll be less likely to schedule time to do it. The thought of having to finish is the surest way to invoke all the mental and physical chemistry that supports continued procrastination.
The more painful or perceived-to-be painful a given task is, the more we will try to seek relief in avoidance. And the notion of having to finish something is almost always painful or threatening.
Worrying about finishing, he says, is a form of perfectionism. Your failed attempts at finishing when you do take up the task, reinforce your belief that such tasks are…unfinishable! You will then wait for that 11th hour jolt to drag you – kicking and screaming – into the finishing…which will surely yield a less-than-perfect end product.
So…Do not think about finishing. Instead, says Fiore, just schedule time to START.
OK, sounds easy enough, right?
Well, not when there’s that sense of overwhelm and dread we get when confronted by tough tasks. Not when we’re unable to fathom WHERE to start on a complex to-do. And not when we’re afraid to begin because we know we’ll just get bogged down soon after starting…or that we’ll do such a lousy job at it that…well, Why bother?!!
Now, the hack that lets you hack through all those forms of paralysis is simply to give yourself permission to start. And you do that by…
Giving yourself permission to NOT finish.
Giving yourself permission to be imperfect.
Giving yourself permission to FAIL (to finish).
And that last one’s key. Drop all expectations of finishing. The only thing you need to do is start, with no demand on yourself other than to give it a few minutes’ effort. [TWEET THIS]
And guess what. Once you’re “in it”, you have a decent chance of seeing how best to get it done…and quite often, before you know it, you’ve been “in it” for 20 minutes!! Or more!!
This is the gift that accrues to us when we just give ourselves permission to START. That is, to fail. To be imperfect. To NOT finish.
Weird, huh? Get weird with me and try it. I bet you’ll find that it works.
“Keep starting – finishing will take care of itself. If you must worry, worry about starting, never worry about finishing.” – Dr. Neil Fiore [TWEET THIS]
You can start many times every day. Always focus on what you can do next. One little step at a time. One start at a time.
Deploy this hack and you’ll find you’re less and less intimidated by big-ugly-hairy-ass to-do’s…and you’ll actually start scratching them off your list. Done. And DONE.
Blessings and Bountiful Crushings,
P.S. I want to thank all the FANTASTIC people across six European cities that hosted my appearances and workshops this month. And of course, the hundreds of people who turned out to attend. You know who you are – cuz I probably hugged you a few times! Can’t wait to do it again! -AB
P.P.S. Dawdle. Hesitate. Shilly-shally. However you describe your own chronic procrastination…it is yours to crush. -ab
P.P.P.S. If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. It’s a video library full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks” to help beat procrastination, get prioritized and manage your time. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab