What is procrastination?

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished.

It’s often seen by others as a sign of laziness but there are many other reasons for procrastinating.

For people postpone tasks because of the fear of failure. These people are often perfectionist with a lower self-confidence. They want the outcome to be perfect and are afraid they will not be able to produce a perfect result.

Other people feel so overwhelmed by the complexity or duration of a task that they just don’t start.

Think small

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If you read my other post, you know that I promote ‘thinking big‘. Yet now I come up with the idea of thinking small. What’s up with that?

Well, let me explain you.

Big goals are important but big tasks can be overwhelming. And when we get overwhelmed we tend to procrastinate.

My solution for this is to splice tasks up into small micro-tasks.

Example

Take for example this blog post.

I had some ideas for topics during the weekend, but I was suffering from exhaustion. It had been a long work  week, it’s flu season and I just couldn’t get myself to write a blogpost. People often don’t realize how much time and effort go into these writings.

But doing nothing gets you nowhere. I decided to write down some keywords about my ideas so that I would not forget them. Maybe 10 minutes of work.

And you know what is the result? The next time I continue on the post, I don’t have to focus too much anymore on the ideas, I can get started at drafting some text.

Even if I only spend 15 minutes, I make progress. This way, slowly and gradually I come closer to a finished post.

Often the inspiration and energy comes while writing. I plan 15 minutes and  sometimes I end up spending 1 hour or more.

Moving forward

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The key is to set small tasks and commit of doing something small every day.

When you are on a journey to a destination, the only way to get there is to move forward. You don’t need to move fast, but you do need to move, otherwise it’s no longer a journey.

Do try this at home

The next time you feel like postponing something, wether it’s a chore or going for a run or working on a long term goal, try to do just a little.

Make the effort sound so small in your head that it becomes too silly to postpone it.

Wash 2 dishes, run 2 km, write 2 lines of text, read 2 pages in a book.

It’s very easy to start a 5 minute task. And you can really stop after 5 minutes if you really want to. But often you will add another 5 minutes or more. Maybe you won’t have the time or energy to finish everything, but at least you made progress. And making progress everyday eventually takes you where you need to be.

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The man who moves a mountain begin by carrying away small stones

– Confucius