A Trick for Overcoming Procrastination

In a fantastic seminar today about creatives & motivation, Mark McGuinness explained how one of the best ways to overcome procrastination is not to try. Sounds counter-intuitive. But he says this type of thinking can "short-circuit" our tendency to put things off.

Instead of saying, I'm going to write (and then finding ten other things to do instead), we should say to ourselves, I'm NOT going to write, I'm just going look at my notes. And inevitably in looking at our notes we'll get drawn in and start writing.

Funny enough - I actually already do this with exercise. I tell myself, I don't have to go for a run, but I do have to get dressed and go outside. Which usually ends up in a run.

One of the women in the seminar said she quit smoking in a similar way. She told herself, You don't have to quit smoking. But you're NOT going to smoke today. And that day turned into two days which turned into ten years.

Once you get into work you love, it's easy. Getting into it is the hard part. This trick seems like a clever way to circumvent our inherent laziness.

Mark McGuinness is a creative coach and his free e-books are worth checking out.