There are many reasons we procrastinate. One of the main reasons is that the task at hand seems too overwhelming or difficult. It’s only a matter of getting started, but if a task seems too big and overwhelming, you don’t know where to start.
The way out of this situation is to break the task down into smaller pieces. This allows you to see that it’s a process and it shows you exactly where you need to start first.
Milestones and Deadlines
In every big task, there are many milestones and deadlines. These can be further broken down into tasks that are achievable daily. With most big tasks, these small milestones need to be done in a certain order. This makes it easy for you because you can see the individual steps. Try to identify milestones and deadlines within the big tasks you have to tackle, and then break the big tasks down.
What if you break down a big task into smaller ones and you still can’t get started? Again, you may be procrastinating because your small tasks aren’t small enough. This means you need to break them down further. You really can’t break down tasks too small. If a task is something that takes only a few minutes to do, you’ll find it much easier to avoid procrastinating and get it done.
A Few Minutes of Your Time
If you’re still having trouble getting started, try setting time limits. Even the biggest procrastinator on earth can take five minutes out of their day to work on a project. No matter how overwhelming or intimidating the project is, working on it for only five minutes is easy. It’s much easier to work on a large-scale project when there’s a time limit where you stop and work on other tasks.
When you see how easy it is to break down big projects into small tasks, it’s tempting to create a detailed plan with all the steps involved and a timeline for getting it done. Creating a detailed plan may help, but it may also hurt. You need to be flexible because at the beginning of a project there’s no way to account for all the variables and things that may change along the way.
If you like to plan, make a detailed plan for the first few steps or tasks, and start working on those tasks. Plan for the next few tasks only as you move forward on the project. This gives you flexibility in case you need to make changes. Over-planning can be another form of procrastination!