There are two ways you can overcome procrastination: jump right into the task or ease yourself into it. The first method requires commitment and willpower to do, but there will be times when you will be lacking them. That's when easing yourself into work can help you overcome procrastination — and that's what is called solar flaring.
Image remixed from Catmando.
Solar flaring is a simple concept for beating procrastination. The idea is: start off with something very small and an easy thing to do, and use that forward momentum to get more work done.
Why is it called solar flaring? Well, for one, it's awesome to name concepts after astronomy phenomenas. Second, a solar flare is a sudden burst of explosions of energy on the surface of the sun. They start off really small but turn into massive explosions. With the same concept in mind, you can apply this to beating procrastination. You start off with something small, perhaps you do something for five minutes, and before you know it you go from laziness to "work mode".
This concept is so simple, but also very effective. You are essentially tricking yourself into "work mode" and you can apply this to any type of work. All you have to do is to say to yourself to do something for only a couple minutes. How hard is that? In reality, even when you are lazy and you are procrastinating, doing something for only a couple minutes is pretty easy to do. It is just another creative way to overcome procrastination.
It not complicated to "trick yourself" into doing a small task. A simple way to do this is by positive self-talk using the word "just". The implication of the word "just" says to yourself that you will not do anything more than what you told yourself. Saying to yourself, "I will just…." is all you need to do to get yourself started. Here are a couple examples how you can use solar flaring.
- Just put your iPod on and play some of your favourite music that you listen to when you exercise.
- Just change into your gym clothes.
- Just five minutes on the cardio machine.
- Just write out the sender's email address, subject line and a couple bullet points of things you want to write.
- Just clean your inbox and get it to zero.
- Just check up on emails you have to follow up on soon.
- Just put the cups and dishes in the sink.
- Just put the litter in the bin.
- Just put the rubbish near the door on the way out.
- Just create the Word document and save it into the right folder.
- Just write the outline of the document.
- Just write the introductory paragraph.
Caveat While solar flaring is a great way to get yourself into the zone for getting work done, it can also be used in a negative way. The other way around works too where you "just do this (insert any excess activity)" can turn into hours of wasted time. Just playing that game on the PS3 can turn into hours of gaming. Or just going out for one hour for a drink with friends can turn into long hours deep into the night resulting in a hangover the next day. We have all been guilty of those. So be cautious how you use solar flaring.
Solar Flaring to Overcome Procrastination [Asian Efficiency]
Aaron Lynn is a productivity consultant, systems thinker, blogger and all-round efficiency aficionado. He provides advice about time management and personal productivity at Asian Efficiency.