Getting Started to Beat Procrastination

We all procrastinate from time to time. When we're in a low mood we can be especially vulnerable to procrastination. Personal and professional tasks that once seemed doable are now piling up and adding to our stress which makes it even harder to think about doing these tasks. It gets to be a bad cycle.

One of the reasons we procrastinate on a task is that it feels overwhelming. It seems so big or uncertain or... that we can't imagine how we'll ever finish it and so we keep putting it off.

There is an alternative that may help. Take a few deep breaths to get out of autopilot, then consciously remind yourself that you don't have to know right now how you'll get all of the task completed.

Instead, all you have to do now is take the first little step. That's it. Nothing more. Taking that first little step will help reveal the next little step, which will reveal the subsequent step and so on. Most importantly, your chances of getting started is much higher when your only commitment is 15 minutes of gathering your mail versus clearing the emotional threshold of tackling that big pile of uncertainty. There's literally brain science that supports this process!

So the next time you catch yourself procrastinating, pause and take a couple deep breaths. Ask yourself what is a small step you can take in the direction of completing the task. Just commit to doing that little step. That's it. It may feel a lot less daunting and there's a good chance you'll proceed from that first small step to the next one to the next one and before you know it you've made more progress than you could have imagined an hour before!

(This tip posted in the Moodfit app on 3/10/16.)

#procrastination #productivity #mentalhealth #psychotherapy #behavioralhealth

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