If you want to have more, work on the habits that help you become more.
Many people procrastinate.
You know that task that’s been on your to-do list for days? The one you keep avoiding?
Common response: “Ahh, I’ll do it tomorrow…”
And then tomorrow comes and you say the exact same thing. Sometimes you postpone the task to the very last moment—or you end up never doing it at all.
It’s convenient to rationalize, justify, and explain away our inability to achieve certain goals by simply believing we have too much to do or lack the willpower to take action. This seems way too easy.
There has been a lot written on WHY people procrastinate. That’s not my goal here. Instead, I want to help you get stuff done the next time you feel the urge to procrastinate.
- Are you stressed out by the volume of tasks on your to-do list?
- Do you find yourself spending an enormous amount of time and energy worrying about all the details that the sheer quantity of analysis prevents any concrete actions or movement forward?
Here is a technique to increase productivity and conquer that horrible feeling of overwhelm. It’s one question, “Can I just _____?” Practice using these three words: “Can I just _____?” Insert an action so easy that you’re guaranteed to be able to do it even if you have barely no willpower at all.
Here are a few examples:
- Let’s say you don’t feel like going for a hour-long workout. Ask yourself: Can I just go for 20 minutes? When you get to the gym, ask yourself: Can I just do one more exercise? Can I just do one more rep?
- You have a busy week and find yourself stressed out by the number of things to accomplish. Try asking yourself: Can I just dedicate 15 minutes to plan my week? Can I just do this one task?
- Here’s one I used recently: Can I just write one crappy sentence for my next blog post and make it better later? Guess what, it worked! 😉
Most people spend endless hours trying to motivate themselves and they struggle. My advice: Stop!
Focus on gaining momentum! Momentum creates motivation.
Do something, regardless of how small.
Remember Newton’s first law: An object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rest tends to stay at rest, unless acted on by an external force—that force is you. Everything becomes easier once you get the ball rolling.
When I’m thinking about the 43 things I have to do for a big project, I naturally put things off. If instead I ask myself, “Can I just do the next thing on my list?” such as naming the module of a new training program, it suddenly becomes a lot easier to get started. Best of all, once I begin, I usually want to keep going. Those I teach this technique to experience the same thing.
“Can I just _____?” are three magic words.
Use this sentence to free yourself from that awful feeling of overwhelm and take one small step forward.