Mark Forster, an author and speaker on time management and personal organisation, has a wonderful method for beating the procrastination habit.
Forster calls the method I’ll just get the file out and explains it in this blog post:
When the inner voice of conscience tells you that you really must get moving on that important report, if you are like most people your usual reaction will be to find something else to do (such as tidying your pencils, making a cup of coffee, going and chatting to your friends, etc. etc.).
Instead say “I’ll just get the file out”. Once you’ve got the file out you have a choice: you can either put the file away again, or you can do some work on the report. It’s up to you. Nine times out of ten you will probably do at least some work on the report. And if you do the same thing the following day and then the following, the report will be completed before you know it.
This technique can be applied to virtually anything that you find yourself resisting.
The method is intriguing because it’s so simple and by “just getting the file out” you are doing something, i.e. you are acting instead of thinking about acting.
You’ll find that when you act on something, mostly the task is not as bad or as hard as you thought. (Our mind tends to play tricks on us when we have to do things that we may not like to do or that we think are too hard.)
If you’re doing something, no matter how small, it’s a victory in the war against procrastination. That will give you a sense satisfaction, which can help nudge you along further.
It’s remarkable the way you feel after you apply this in your life. Hey, I even wrote this post by telling myself, “I’ll just link to Mark Forster’s blog post.”