Productivity and GTD
Just Get Started!
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” ~ Mark Twain
All of us procrastinate occasionally. Most times it is simply to delay a few minutes or a few hours on something we must do (“come on, 10 minutes more on Twitter and then I’ll get with it”, “This afternoon I’ll call him, now I do not feel like it”.) Other times it is more serious, because our unwillingness to undertake that task affects other people and generates problems.
Now that the year ends and that you are probably thinking about some things you want to get done in 2015 once and for all, you need to realize that when you are constantly postponing something you have to do, you are the biggest loser.
Procrastinating is an ugly word from which you have to run. It means stop doing things knowing that you’re going against yourself. It is a coping mechanism to avoid tasks or projects that you know they won’t produce good emotions (they are unpleasant, boring, difficult, etc.)
Apart from the obvious negative consequences of not doing the job in question, the fact of avoiding to do something has other side effects on your moral, on your self-confidence, on your stress level and, ultimately, on your happiness.
A few months ago I wrote an article with 20 strategies that can help you stop procrastinating. Of all these, the one psychologists 1 hold as a fundamental point is: Just get started! You can not expect to feel like doing something you rarely fancy doing, so you should think, “Okay, I don’t feel like doing this but I’ll get started”.
“An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” ~ Newton’s First Law
Getting started is sufficient to overcome the resistance of your brain. Working a few minutes helps you lose the fear. And once you are working on it, you start to feel good for doing what you should do, and that pushes you to continue. It generates a kind of inertia, a dynamic that will take you to complete that task successfully.
I found my way to succeed with these tasks, my way to get started: When I realize that there is something I’m putting off, I go for breakfast at my favorite coffee shop and ask for my favorite breakfast. In an environment in which I am very happy, I take out my notebook and start making a kind of personal brainstorming on this little or big project I am avoiding. As words appear on paper I realize what parts of the project are pulling me out and, simultaneously, I can think of possible solutions. Typically, after half an hour, I have a fairly well-defined plan for running the project. And not only is the resistance gone, but I even begin to feel like working on that challenge.
My wish is that you get everything that you propose in 2015. For this, stop thinking, and just start doing ;)
Happy New Year!