How to Train Yourself to Stop Procrastinating (20-Minute Practice)
by Ben Pages on Jun 20, 2020
You've decided today would be a good day to write something on your blog. You open up a blank text file armed with all the goodwill in the world.
What do you do next?
A. Pick up your phone and do something else.
B. Write a few ideas, then delete them, call it writer's block, then make yourself a snack.
C. Sit, stare and wait. Refuse to get up until something gets done.
Personally, I set a timer. 20 minutes, never less, never more.
And for those 20 minutes, my only goal is to sit in the company of the blank page. Not to write 100 or 200 words, let alone a masterpiece. Just sitting and getting acquainted with the enemy.
But the brain isn't a big fan of letting us idle for 20 minutes. It likes to get things done.
So once we've made the decision that we won't let ourselves be distracted, the only way left for the mind to get its rush is to fill up the blank page. And you start writing stuff.
Whether what goes on the page ends up being good or absolute rubbish is irrelevant here.
The real exercise is to do the work regardless of the self-talk that's going on up in our heads.
We want to condition ourselves to override the BS that ruminates in our domes and let the mind know that there will be no negotation when it comes to our work.
Feeling sad? Good, let's write.
Feeling sick? Good, let's write.
Feeling hungry? Good, let's write.
But this is not a post about writing. It's a post about getting the important things done.
When faced with problems, the majority of us would much rather flee than do the work.
How do we flee? By turning on the TV. By picking up a snack. By drinking. By having sex. These are all forms of procrastination.
Instead, choose to cultivate the discipline of sitting, looking your problems dead in the eye, and telling them you won't move until they either knock you flat on your ass or you come to some sort of solution.