This afternoon I ran into a dilemma when I suddenly realised ‘oh sh*t, I’ve got to write my newsletter!’
When thinking about what I would write about, I realised that I was starting to procrastinate. I had other things that I would have prefered to do, like watching YouTube, scrolling tiktok, instagram or facebook.
I had a little lightbulb moment when I realised that the topic of my newsletter could be the same as the solution to my problem - just starting!
Often we procrastinate on tasks that offer us long term benefit because we are enticed by shorter term gratification. It’s much easier to scroll on tiktok or watch a Youtube video than write a newsletter.
The task in itself becomes undefined and daunting - “write a newsletter”. How long does it have to be? How long will it take? What do I write on?
All of these questions enter our minds when we do any task that might involve short-term sacrifice, like doing a practice exam or our homework.
I’ve found that one of the solutions to getting our daunting, not-so-gratifying tasks done is to break them up into their smallest components.
If I was procrastinating on my phone, the smallest steps I need to take to make progress on my newsletter are:
- Put down my phone
- Open notion
- Write one word
When I break the task down like this, it doesn’t seem so daunting, and I can often trick my brain into thinking that I’m only going to do a little bit. Rather than writing my whole newsletter, I can write down just one sentence, then one paragraph, then another and I’m done!
More often than not, breaking the act of starting a task into it’s smallest components is all you need to break out of a mini productivity slump. Once you’ve done a few exam questions, you might as well finish the multiple choice section. Once you’re there, you might as well take the extra step and just finish the short-answer section too!
The power of just starting is what helped me write this newsletter today, so the next time you’ve got something to do, and you don’t feel like doing it… Just start by putting down your phone, opening your books and reading one line - see how it goes!