The key habit during this month of Unprocrastination will be to have a daily Unprocrastination Session.
What’s that? It’s just a session of at least 5 minutes when you’ll focus on doing one thing (or a second thing if you finish the first). Something you’ve been putting off. If you only have to do 5 minutes, it won’t seem too hard.
You can do up to 10 minutes, but there’s no need to go long. The key practice is starting, and focusing â€” as opposed to putting it off, or switching to something else.
Do this every day, and you’ll get good at it.
The amazing thing is you’ll feel great, and see some tremendous benefits if you actually do it every day.
How to Do the Sessions
Keep the sessions as simple as possible.
Hereâ€™s what I recommend:
- Commit to doing daily 5-10 minute unprocrastination training sessions. Tell your accountability group, or tell a friend youâ€™ll give them $100 (or do something embarrassing, maybe) if you miss a day.
- Set a reminder for first thing in the morning, when you usually start work or study. Whenever you open your computer, basically. Also put up a big note near your computer.
- When you open your computer, before you do anything else, do your unprocrastination training session. Pick a task to focus on â€” something you’ve been putting off. You could start with easier ones at first, instead of with the giant whale that you’ve been dreading for a month. After a week or so, tackle the whale, one bite at a time.
- Clear aside everything else, and do your task for 5-10 minutes. Thatâ€™s it. You can stop after that, though if you’re in the groove feel free to keep going. If you finish the task quickly, feel free to start a second.
- Notice when you have the urge to switch tasks, to do something easier or more comfortable. Pause, watch the urge, let it go. Then return to the task. Donâ€™t let yourself switch.
Thatâ€™s it! Do this daily for a week, then increase to 10-15 minutes. Do that for two weeks, and on your fourth week, increase to 20 minutes. If you struggle during a week, don’t increase the time.
Answers to Questions
You might have a few questions about the sessions â€” here are some answers:
1. What if I don’t start work at the same time every day?
A: The time doesn’t matter. Just do the session as soon as you open your computer for the first time. If you find yourself putting off work or studying for awhile by watching TV or reading on your phone, ban those devices until after your session is over.
2. How do I motivate myself to start the session if I feel like procrastinating?
A: First, make a bigger commitment â€” tell someone you’ll pay them $1,000, or donate it to the charity you hate the most, or the political candidate you hate the most. Or promise to record something embarrassing and upload it to Youtube/Facebook. Second, make it easier â€” something so easy you can’t say no. For example, do just 2 minutes a day for the first week. Do an easy task instead of a hard one.
3. Do I have to do it on weekends too?
A: If you don’t work or study on weekends, no you don’t have to. But if you think it would be nice to get 5-10 minutes of your novel done on weekends, do it! The more you practice, the better you’ll get.
4. What if I miss a day or two?
A: Try your best not to miss days, but sometimes life just gets in the way. Don’t worry about those misses â€” just figure out what got in the way and see if you can plan to overcome that obstacle next time (do the weekly review!).