Are You Waiting for Ideal Conditions to Start Your Project?
Recently, someone mentioned she was waiting to clear “a big chunk of time” before starting a project.
Other things people wait for are:
- The kids to be in school (or out of the house entirely).
- A better work space (either at home or elsewhere).
- More money.
- ”To do more research.”
While there is often some logic to waiting, it’s usually better just to get started. For one thing, the impulse to wait is usually partly a response to perfectionist fears of failure, success, and showing the work. (And, often, no matter how well rationalized, it’s entirely a response to perfectionism.)
So don’t wait: do your work in short intervals — even five or ten minutes at a time, if that’s all you have. (Here’s the technique.) You’ll not only vanquish any perfectionist fears, but transform your work from a cold theoretical endeavor into a warm, living project that you’ll be inspired to continue working on.
In fact, people who do this often discover that, while they might like the extra time, better office, etc., they don’t need it. By breathing life into their project, they rekindled their passion for it, and so can easily blast past barriers that formerly seemed insurmountable.
It’s imperative, however, that you approach your five or ten minutes nonperfectionistically. If, while you’re working, you’re constantly thinking, “This is ridiculous. I’m not getting anywhere. I hate what I’m doing,” etc., that will defeat the point of the exercise.
(And, absent perfectionism, you will probably be amazed at how much you can accomplish in even five or ten minutes.)
To be clear, there are definitely times it makes sense to put off a project, such as when you’re already overwhelmed with stressful obligations, or if it is simply a lower priority than everything else you’re currently working on. But if there’s a project you’re itching to work on, and your main barrier to doing so is simple busy-ness, try to get in at least one good five- or ten-minute interval each day.
- For more advice on how to conquer procrastination and perfectionism, check out my book The 7 Secrets of the Prolific. And remember—nothing catalyzes success faster than coaching.
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