Procrastinating? Start With a Small Task.

Last Updated on: October 1, 2023

Getting started is the hardest part of any task; that is why people love procrastinating.

Whenever we try to start a project, learn a new skill, write a new blog post, read a book, or do any other task, it is often easier to do it later.

Unfortunately, later becomes much later, and much later often becomes never (or the night before the deadline). So, if you’re procrastinating, you should try starting ridiculously small.

Start With A Ridiculously Small Task

During the first month of the community quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, I haven’t been as productive as I wanted. I had many things on my to-do list but haven’t made significant progress.

Then, I watched a LinkedIn Learning course on time management and stumbled upon the idea of doing BIG tasks by starting from ridiculously small steps. 

The idea is you should start with a small step, so small that it is even embarrassing not to do it. It made sense since, most of the time, taking the first step is just the needed boost to push us through ‘that’ dreaded task.

For example, for students (like you and me), it is challenging to study. So, how will I start from a ridiculously small task?

  • I will sit in front of my book.
  • I will open the first page
  • Read the first paragraph. 
  • I can commit at least 5 minutes to see if I can build momentum.

Another example is when I am writing. I still haven’t established the habit of consistently writing in my blog, so I try to write more often. The problem is, I write only when I feel like it.

How To Start Ridiculously Small?

So, how can I use the principle of starting ridiculously small? I start writing only the first sentence, and most of the time, the following words just come flowing. It’s amazing.

Then there is exercise. Many people have been talking about gaining weight since the start of the community quarantine. But did you know that 7 minutes daily is all you need to remain active?

It may not give you the beach body you’ve always dreamed of, but it is better than nothing.

Now, how do you start exercising by taking a ridiculously small step? First, open the app. Then, ride it out and follow through.

Using a Desk Timer

A good complement to starting a task with a small action is using a desk timer to improve productivity. You can set the timer to five minutes and do as much as possible during that time.

If you don’t feel like continuing the work, you can stop and do other things on your list. However, there is a chance that the starting activity will push you to build momentum.

It’s also important to place your cell phone away from you so you can have your undivided attention.

Positive vs Negative Procrastination

Many of us want to be more productive, but we can’t gather the needed willpower to begin – so we procrastinate. However, there are two kinds of procrastination – positive and negative.

Positive procrastination is when you put a task into the future because you have more urgent tasks at hand, and you need to prioritize.

Negative procrastination is avoiding the task because suddenly, your room needs a general cleaning, you chat with a friend, or you decide to nap.

A quote says, “To eat an elephant – do it one bite at a time.” So, start small and get it over with.

Final Thought

Starting a new task can be difficult, but there are ways to overcome that wall. One way is to start your task extremely small.

Do you have a dreaded task? Start small.

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