You know those projects you’ve been meaning to work on for a while, but it was never the right time?
I’m talking about the things no one else expects you to do, and maybe nobody cares if you do them (or so you think), but you really want to do it. Just not enough to, you know, get started right away.
We all know how it goes: you say to yourself you don’t have the time, you don’t have the money, you need to figure out every single detail before you even begin…
We make all sorts of excuses why we can’t do things right now.
Here’s something that I’ve personally found very helpful when dealing with procrastination.
Let’s do a little thought experiment
Imagine this thing you’re postponing will never happen. You’ll never get to it, because you’ll never have the perfect inspiration, perfect conditions, perfect skill… it will never be the “right time”.
Imagine that if you don’t do it today, you never will.
How does that feel?
Do you feel relieved or terrified?
If you feel relieved, you should probably give up on this project because it’s clear you don’t actually want to do it.
It’s perfectly fine to change your mind and realize you don’t want to do something that you once thought was important to you.
If you don’t feel so great about the possibility of your big dream project never happening, here’s an easy 3-step process to get back on track when you find yourself procrastinating.
1. Remember the alternative to not doing it today is not doing it at all
When nobody is holding you accountable, you can keep postponing your tasks for “tomorrow” forever. We think we have an infinite number of “tomorrows” at our disposal so it doesn’t make a difference if we do it today, or put it off for that mythical “tomorrow” that never comes.
You might as well say you’ll never do it.
That sounds harsh, but it’s the truth.
And I know this because I’m that kind of person too. I too have had passion projects that I kept postponing for weeks, months and even years.
In this moment you’re standing on a crossroads, where one road leads to achieving your goal, and the other one leads to never achieving it, because the timing will never be “right”.
Which road would you rather choose?
2. Think of your “Big Why”, and what you might get out of this
If you want to do a good job and enjoy the project, your positive motivation has to come from the inside. You need to have a very compelling reason why you want to do this.
What made you want to pursue this project in the first place?
What do you want to create in the world?
Connect to this desire of yours and write it down so you can remember what it is when you’re having a difficult time working.
Also, it’s very likely that finishing this project might bring you some new opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t have.
You can focus on personal growth, career advancement, or any other area in your life that could use some love.
What new things will you learn?
What new career or life opportunities might open up for you?
What will you prove to yourself?
And finally, what is the best-case scenario if everything turns out great?
Imagine this best-case scenario in your mind like a movie. Stay in this feeling for a few minutes, and then…
3. Pick the first step and start working on it immediately
What’s the first thing that needs to happen in order to move forward with this project?
Do it. Now.
Don’t think about the hundred steps that need to happen before you finally finish your project, that will overwhelm you. Focus on the first immediate step, and do it. Then focus on the second step and do that.
A step at a time is how you’ll make tremendous progress.
So, let me pose a little challenge for you: What’s one thing you wanted to do for a while but it was never the “right time”? What can you do today to make it happen?
Just pick one thing and do it!
Nela Dunato is an artist, designer and illustrator. She enjoys writing about creativity and motivation. You can see her work and read her blog at NelaDunato.com
Her mission is to help people to express themselves creatively and show their authentic self to the world, and she does it through her design work, creative workshops, ebooks and 1-on-1 work.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.
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