Beat Procrastination By Using Small Wins To Build Momentum

Beat Procrastination By Using Small Wins To Build Momentum

When you really have to get things done, all you need to do is get started. If you’re struggling, focus on something small. Even an answered email, short report finished, or another small win is all it takes to build a little momentum to tackle the big stuff.

Photo by Rennett Stowe.

I can vouch for this myself — sometimes on those days when I really just can’t be bothered to do anything, tackling those little (but still necessary) things helps me stay motived, and gives me just enough momentum to roll into a bigger task on my plate once I finish the small stuff. In many cases it’s the prospect of doing that big stuff that makes me want to procrastinate in the first place, while answering a few emails or scheduling a few follow-ups has a much lower barrier to entry (or activation energy, as it were.)

Over at the Glassdoor blog, Alexandra Levit explains that those small wins can mean a lot, and she uses the “under 10 minute” rule — something we’ve discussed before — to help her get started:

“If a task arrives in your queue and it can be completed in less than 10 minutes, take care of it right away. Small assignments are the most vulnerable to being buried in the workflow. Of course, the ‘Under 10 Minutes Rule’ is only effective if you leave some wiggle room in your schedule. If you have back-to-back meetings or multiple assignments that require heavy lifting every day, you just won’t have time for anything else. Therefore, you should assume that you’ll spend at least an hour per workday dealing with these small tasks and budget accordingly. In my mailbox, as soon as a task has been attended to, the corresponding messages are removed and placed in an appropriate folder. Thanks to the ‘Under 10 Minutes’ Rule, my inbox is nearly always empty. I don’t lose things due to clutter, I don’t get overwhelmed by all of the things I have to do, and my level of responsiveness is second to none.”

It’s a good tip, and a good way to keep motivated, or to break out of a bout of procrastination. Hit the link below for more tips.

Nine Ways Successful People Fight Procrastination [Glassdoor Blog]

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