New Years Resolutions are the grandaddy of good intentions. Odd that we choose to start our year with mostly unrealistic demands on ourselves. I’ll lose weight. I’ll start going to the gym. I’ll learn a second language. I’ll write the Great American Novel. And as if it was the natural course of action pre-ordained, we procrastinate. Show me a human being and I’ll show you someone who procrastinates. It is human nature. But how do we defeat this habit? I submit that like an athlete builds strength and endurance and a pilot builds skill, we train daily!
Sounds like a solid course of action, no? The problem is, we are probably quite likely to put off the training sessions. We have to do two things:
- Find our source of motivation
- Start off easy
And by easy I mean so easy you can’t say no. You have to find a way to start that you can’t say no to. Try one of these:
- Commit to doing daily 5-10 minute un-procrastination training sessions. Tell someone you’ll give them $100 or you’ll shave off your beard or you’ll run naked through the floor of the stock exchange if you forfeit a day.
- Set a reminder for first thing in the morning when you usually start work. In other words, whenever you open your computer or break out your smart phone/tablet. A big sticky on your desktop is a good idea.
- When you open your computer – before you do anything else – do your un-procrastination training session.
- So what is the un-procrastination training exercise? Pick a task you’ve been procrastinating on (catching up on emails, sending out a thank you note, rating the last hotel you stayed at, etc), clear aside everything else, and do that task for 5-10 minutes. That’s it. 5-10 minutes of your whole 1440 daily minutes. You can stop after that.
- Notice when you have the urge to switch tasks. Why do you want to switch? Is it to do something easier or more comfortable. Pause a moment, watch the urge, let it go. Then return to the original task. Don’t let yourself switch. Stay the course!
That’s it! Do this daily for a week, then increase to 10-15 minutes. Do that for two weeks, and on the fourth week, increase to 20 minutes. After 21 days of training you will have built a habit or ritual and after a month you will have forgotten you ever used to procrastinate such a thing.