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    • The next time you’re tempted to procrastinate, “make your focus as simple as ‘What’s the next action – a simple next step – I would take on this task if I were to get started on it now?’”. Doing this, he says, takes your mind off your feelings and onto easily achievable action. “Our research and lived experience show very clearly that once we get started, we’re typically able to keep going. Getting started is everything.”

      Well yeah, but even asking the question, “What’s the next action I would take on this task if I were to get started on it now?” requires one to overcome procrastination to ask it. My approach is summed up by the great philosopher Bill Murray in the comedy film, What About Bob?

      Baby Steps

      In a way it ties in with @mbravo’s conversation on intentionality. For example, if I hate to do laundry then maybe my first step is just to bring the basket of dirty clothes down to the laundry room, then go for a walk, watch television, something enjoyable. Then go back to the laundry room and run the machine with the dirty clothes. Would it be quicker to do it all in one step? Yes, but it’s about overcoming the psychological barrier of overwhelmingness. My procrastinations are typically for tasks of greater importance and complexity, but the idea of only doing the first step and actually stopping for awhile before starting step two works for me: the idea that I’m going to trick myself into keep-on-going after I do step one seems like a short-lived hack—next time I’d be reluctant to do step one because I would feel like I’d have to do the whole task once I started. Typically, on something with a lot of steps, such as putting together new electronics I bought, I might procrastinate with each of the first few steps and then, after I’ve built up my self-confidence, I’ll complete the rest of the steps in one setting. I guess my point is that you have to give yourself the option of only doing one step at a time, but if you feel motivated to keep going after completion of step one then do so.

      My two cents, FWIW.

    • I'm as bad a procrastinator as it gets. I have accepted that quite a long time ago, along with other truisms along the lines of "I'm not perfect and that's okay", "It's ok to sometimes f*ck up", etc and so on. For me, the trick is a) to determine if I'm really procrastinating or I just need a bit of some real downtime (and why, in either case). If it's the latter, then just get that downtime. Go nurse an espresso somewhere, or take a day off, or whatever it takes, depending on the why. If it's the former, work around it. I've gotten pretty good at "structured procrastination", the thing where you don't want to write that document so much that you go clean filters in every appliance in the house, and then you so opposed to the idea of doing dishes, that you take all the recycling out to respective bins, and then you so much against doing a grocery run that you quickly cook this day's dinner a la Jamie Oliver, and then you, again, so much appalled at the idea of doing dishes that you go sit and write that damn document.... you get the picture :)

      The crucial balance, for me, is between not letting it get to you, and not letting it take over too much.

    • I think it is all about motivation. No matter how hard or easy a task would be, what is important is what gets us in the state of mind to be willing to act on it. It may be pleasure or survival dictating action. But what about choices when no pressure exists? For example, gearing up and heading out to ride a motorcycle, out there in the elements, vs. sitting in front of a keyboard 'socializing'.. or reading a book, which do you choose, when and why? What if we're motivated incorrectly? I found this intriguing..

    • WOW! I sure didn't think it had anything to do with emotions. I'm a procrastinator however I wasn't always this way. Yes, procrastination does create stress for me. Procrastination in some cases has created a lot more work for me as well as allowing thing to become overwhelming.

      In the last month I have been working on this and the information you provided came at a perfect time.

      Thank you.