Time to Read: 2:43 minutes
The resistance to starting can be powerful
We try conventional methods (fear tactics + willpower), but they have no effect.
At times like these we must resort to unconventional methods.
Here are 12 guerrilla tactics to neutralize procrastination:
Count “1,2,3…1,2,3…1,2,3…” in your head, continuously. Each time you find yourself restarting the count at “1”, take one small action and acknowledge the tiny progress you’re making. See how many action sequences you can string together.
Activate a short countdown timer and give yourself permission to enter ‘Zombie mode’ until the timer expires. When you enter ‘Zombie mode’ you work without really thinking. Your work might be sloppy but you don’t really care because you’re a zombie after all! Try making the occasional Zombie noise to reinforce the fact you don’t care about quality (for the time being). After the timer has elapsed you won’t have a pretty product but you will have stopped procrastinating!
If you have a little more energy, activate a short countdown timer and challenge yourself see how much you can complete before the timer is up. Start with a 5-minute timer. Then use the first 5-minute session as a benchmark to improve subsequent 5-minute sessions.
Play a song you enjoy and see how much progress you can make before the song finishes (musical chair style).
Get out a blank piece of paper and write what out whatever thoughts you have for 5 minutes. Write so fast that you can hardly make out your own writing. Write about anything and explore interesting ideas that come up. If nothing comes to mind just write about how great you are at procrastinating!
Open up a blank document on your computer and write down whatever thoughts you have for 5 minutes. Type so fast that the document fills up with typos. Don’t be ashamed; don’t use the delete key. When you write something stupid simply hit the ‘return’ key and type out the next thing that comes to mind.
Grab your stuff and move to a new location. Use your arrival at the new location as a trigger to begin working…no matter what. Learn to associate a specific location with a specific action. For example: Starbucks = writing, Library = editing, Living room chair = reading, Office desk = designing)
Grab a drink and make a tiny action after each sip you take. For example: sip of green tea = write one line, sip of coffee = list one idea, a sip of water = read one page, sip of herbal tea = edit one paragraph.
Start a voice memo on your phone and start recording thoughts until you arrive at a useful idea. Rant until you feel productive! Play back the voice recording the generate more ideas.
Get out a blank piece of paper and doodle like a 5-year-old. Doodle words and objects related to the problem you’re struggling with. Doodle until the entire page is full. Eventually you will stumble upon a good idea to help you get started. Did you know that JFK was an avid doodler?
30 Second Push-ups
Get on the ground and do push-ups for 30 seconds. This will get your blood pumping and release a little testosterone – a hormone that will make you feel confident enough to start! If you still don’t feel motivated to start, do another round of 30-second ups.
Repeat This Question…
“Am I willing, at this time, to make a positive difference?” Something strange happens when you repeat this phrase…you suddenly find the willpower to get started! “Am I willing…” frames the task as a choice, “…at this time…” reminds you that only need to focus for a short while and “…to make a positive difference” gets us thinking about the positive impacts of our results.
Congratulations you’ve started! You’ve defeated procrastination and you now have unstoppable momentum!