It feels very meta to be writing a post about how to stop procrastinating right now and take action even when you don’t feel like it. Because I am literally, in this moment, procrastinating, and trying to take action even though I don’t want to.
But this is a topic of conversation that has come up a lot lately in my sessions with clients. Perhaps it has to do with hitting the 3-week mark of the new year, and the desire to keep our resolutions going strong.
Most likely, if you’ve found yourself on this post, part of you wants to stop procrastinating right now and take action. But the other part doesn’t really feel like it. Both parts of you exist. Both are valid.
Right now, the part of you that wants to procrastinate so you don’t have to take real action is winning.
It’s telling you that if google how to stop procrastinating, that it will magically inspire you to start doing whatever it is you need to do. And that part of you is able to feel productive while not having to work too hard.
That part of you is comfortable while procrastinating, and that part of you likes feeling that way.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that part of you is also engaging in an avoidance tactic that is prolonging the action-taking.
And that other part of you, the part that wants to take action, deserves some time in the spotlight too!
So, this list short and sweet so you can please the part of you that wants to keep googling, while also listening to the part of you that is ready to take some action.
Here are 3 tips that helped me get off of the couch, sit at my desk, and type up this blog post, even though I didn’t feel like it.
1. Remember Your Why
It has been a long week. I taught a course, flew down to Florida, and had back-to-back therapy sessions all day. The last thing I wanted to do this afternoon was sit at my computer and write this post. To be honest, I almost didn’t do it.
But as I reflect, I’m realizing that somewhere deep inside, my why was calling out to me.
Your why is important, because it’s what inspires you to feel motivated. It encapsulates what you value. It’s your hope for your life, your vision, your purpose.
So take a few moments to think through your why. Ask yourself these questions:
- What hopes do I have for my life/business/health and how will taking action help me get there?
- How do I think I’ll feel once I’ve taken action?
- What is my main purpose for taking action?
- In what ways would my life be different if I took action? Both in the short-term, and the long-term?
Write down your answers. Draw a scene of your vision. Talk about it with friends, with family, your therapist. Take time to reflect on your why, and really own it!
So when you find yourself in that place, thinking you should take action but you don’t really feel like it, your why will be there, etched deep inside of you, reminding you of your purpose.
2. Doing Something Imperfectly Is Better Than Doing Nothing
I’m actually doing this right now. My original blog post for this week was going to require a lot of research. I wasn’t feeling it. So I said to myself, “Maybe I can come up with a different topic. Something that won’t take as long. I’ll try that instead.”
Which is how you’ve found yourself on a post about taking action!
So if your plan was to do something for an hour, but in the moment that isn’t realistic, IT’S OKAY TO ADJUST! Try 20 minutes instead.
Or, if in your mind, taking action means you have to complete a whole task, dial it back a bit. Take baby steps, or little nibbles. You’ll feel better about doing something, rather than nothing. And don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do it perfectly.
The reality is, I started this post on a Thursday afternoon after a day of doing therapy. I completed about 75% of it until I ran out of steam. And now I’m finishing up the rest the following Friday morning.
I’m glad I adjusted, because if I stuck to the original plan, I don’t know if I would have been able to find the motivation to even get started. Which brings me to…
3. Give Yourself 7 Minutes
I heard once that it takes 7 minutes to push through that initial resistance you feel when starting a task. I think it was on the Huberman podcast but I can’t find a transcript of the actual episode (which btw, if you haven’t listened to his podcast OMG IT IS SO GOOD!! I highly recommend it!!!).
But it makes sense. As I started typing this, I definitely slogged my way through some ideas, hoping to conjure something intelligible. Anything! And after a few minutes, my thoughts started to come together.
It takes time to warm up when we start something – whether it is to sit down and think, or get up and move our bodies, or put some paint to paper. There is a period that we have to push through, before we can feel immersed in the task at hand. Like we are actually making some headway.
But once you get through that first little hump of starting, you may be surprised to find yourself doing some deep work. And being in a state of deep work feels oh-so-good.
You’ve probably heard it a million times – the hardest part is starting. There is truth to that. Give yourself 7 minutes, then see how you feel.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead! It’s time… yes, right now! Stop reading, get up, just do it!
Whether it’s writing out your why with the guidelines above, or some other task you’ve been wanting to get done, just start! Give yourself 7 minutes. You got this.
And if you feel so inclined, let me know how it went. 🙂