Procrastination – it haunts us all. Sometimes we don’t know where to start so we don’t. Or maybe we do know where to start but we just don’t have it in us today. And besides, that shiny distraction over there looks so much more fun.
I was thinking yesterday about junk food. As adults, we’re allowed to eat whatever we want. But most of us soon discover that a diet of junk isn’t the best thing for us. We also discover that whole, real food can be quite yummy and satisfying. The same with money. We can spend our money on whatever we want – we can invest in small, cheap, immediate gratification items or we can invest, save, and stay focused on the long-range goals. It’s the same with our time. Will we be drawn to shiny distractions or invest in our long-term goals?
But even with the BEST of intentions – getting started is a real struggle. Especially when the task is large, spans a period of time, and isn’t always clearly defined in the beginning.
No size fits all when it comes to productivity and beating procrastination but one of my very favorite ways is the Pomodoro Technique – or timeboxing.
It’s so simple and therein lies its beauty.
1. Figure out what you need to do and assign a time – something like 20-30 minutes.
2. Set an alarm and work on the task. No shiny distractions.
3. Alarm sounds – take a quick break. Quick is the operative word.
You’ll be amazed and what you can accomplish in 20-30 minutes. And then multiply that by 4-6 sessions in a day and you’re a productive chaos slayer. And then, once you master the 20-30 minutes, you can extend your focus to 30-40 minutes, and then an hour or so. After an hour, we start to experience diminishing returns. Our brains need to rest and experience some white space to function best.
John Dumas has created a great journal to practice and measure progress using this method in his Mastery Journal (affiliate). The journal guides you through 100 days of implementation and progress tracking. I highly recommend and have used myself during projects that were expansive over a period of time and when I felt overwhelmed by the unknown.
You can do ANYTHING for 30 minutes – just make sure it’s something worth your time.
Miss a day? You can catch up here.
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