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I read an article about the scientific basis of procrastination  (short answer: we do it because it makes us feel better), and how to stop it.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that one of the keys to overcoming procrastination is to get started. According to research, any progress we make can be a big motivator to keep going.

Of course, getting started is often the hardest part. One way to do it, according to the article, is to “make getting started ridiculously easy”.

Here are 5 ways to do that, including one I’ve never heard of:

  1. Organize it. Gather your notes, open a new file, put a date on your calendar, set up a new “project” template, make a list of steps, etc. Any one of these means you’ve started.
  2. Talk to someone about it. Explain the task to a partner, or friend, ask for feedback or suggestions. Talking about it means you’ve started. It also means someone you know will probably ask you “how’s it going”.
  3. The Salami Technique. Carve up the task into tiny slices, things that you can do in a few minutes.
  4. Use a timer. Give yourself five minutes to work on it. You can do a lot in five minutes.
  5. Sit and think about it. According to the author of the article, “I start by just thinking about the task for a while, until I’m drawn in and can’t help working on it.”

The last one sounds intriguing. I imagine that sitting and thinking about something you’ve been avoiding gets you to start it because doing “something” is better than doing nothing.

Will any of these help you complete a task you’ve been avoiding? I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure they’ll help you get started.

Procrastinating on marketing? This will help you start

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