May 16, 2022

How to beat procrastination

laptop clock pen and penholders on a desk in black and white

What task is on your list that you keep deferring?

The 15-minute method is a way to help overcome inertia and get moving on a task. It’s basically a psychological trick, and it’s very simple.

Prepare your environment in advance. Set out all the materials you’ll need to work on your task for 15 minutes. For those 15 minutes, focus single-mindedly on the task at hand, and do nothing else. Don’t get up for any reason (unless the building catches fire 🙂 If you’re working on your computer, don’t open any applications but the essential ones. If the phone rings, let it go to voicemail. If a text message comes in, let it wait. Don’t even think about checking your email or Facebook. If someone pops in and asks, “Do you have a minute?” tell them to come back later.

Work quickly during this time. Focus on speed. Try to make as much progress on your task as humanly possible. If distracting thoughts come up, say to yourself, “Focus! Focus! Focus!” Then ask yourself, “What’s the very next step?”

First… it helps you overcome inertia and gets you moving forward productively. No matter how unpleasant the task may seem, it isn’t that difficult to commit to working on it for only 15 minutes.

Second… it gets you past those “I don’t know what to do” excuses. You can easily figure out what to do for 15 minutes. If you really don’t know how to begin, write down the problem as though you are explaining it to a novice. Figure out the next step, or call someone to ask for advice. You only have to figure out 15 minute’s worth of the task to get started!

Third… it keeps you focused. You’re compelled to make a clear distinction between real work vs. distractions. You can’t delude yourself into thinking that web surfing or checking email is working. When you use the 15-minute method, you’re getting real work done.

Unless, of course, you can’t be………….

My best wishes, Paul

Paul Matthews

CEO and Founder of People Alchemy

share this article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

related posts

Item carved, hand with thumbs up, blue shirt sleeve, writing on hand "Good job!"

Catch them doing something right

Many of the ideas of management grew out of the latter stages of the industrial revolution. Do your managers seek to catch people doing something wrong, or catch them doing something right?

Read More
golden robot arm on blue background and blue writing strategy with arrow pointing to the hand holding a spanner

We need a strategy to fix this

“We need a strategy to fix this” – But what is a strategy anyway? I notice that many people get confused between strategy and planning…

Read More
Testimonial as a card

13 Barriers to implementing learning transfer testimonial

We recently received a lovely testimonial for Paul’s new ebook ’13 Barriers to Implementing Learning Transfer – and how to …

Read More
Two people arms stretched out and holding hands, silhouetted in front of a sunset red sky. Network of lit up dots imposed on the sky.

Change can be viral

One of the most significant determinants of learning transfer is the culture of the organisation. Culture is the sea where all learning transfer activities swim.

Read More

search blog

Get your free weekly tip

You agree that we can keep a record of your details, and send you other occasional offers. See our Privacy Policy