Put off Procrastinating

By nature, I am a chronic procrastinator. I love the thrill of working on deadline–and that leads me to putting things off until they just can’t wait any longer. You’d be amazed at the ways I procrastinate.When working on a blog post (like this one), I’ll spend an hour looking for an image to use. I’ll try to eat my way through the contents of my fridge. I’ll get up six times to use the ladies room. I decide now is the best time to catch up on all the blog posts I haven’t read in my google reader. I reorganize my post-it note collection, or my bulletin board.

The list could go on and on and on.

So when I read Andre Kibbe’s post on WorkAwesome I found myself first nodding in agreement, then shaking my head in disbelief. His suggest just seemed too simple to work. The principle? Aim for non-zero. He writes that it’s about getting past that blank screen. Then moving on to the next step. No way, I thought. It won’t work. I’ll just sit and stare. But then he mentions the 10-minute dash.

Basically, this involves setting a timer and deciding that for the next 10 minutes you’ll do nothing OR you’ll do an assignment. And then either making yourself sit there and literally do nothing…. or beginning work on a given project. I just had to try it.

So today, after reading his piece, I searched Google for an online timer and set it up for a ten minute count down. I opened up a project and hit start. And you know what? When I told myself I couldn’t get up to get a drink until those ten minutes were up, I actually started doing work–I didn’t check my email (even though there was an annoying red message at the bottom of my screen telling me I had a new email) or read a blog post–and I didn’t stop when the timer went off.

I had built up momentum by the time the timer went off and had almost completed the assignment. So I stayed seated and finished the last few sentences. I went from not accomplishing anything, to almost finishing a project in ten minutes–I had successfully put off procrastination.

Try it yourself. Or leave your tips for putting off procrastination in the comments.

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