Sand For Your Inbox

Ideas to help you think and work more creatively

Sand for Your Inbox - July 2008

Ah, procrastination.

I would have sent this e-newsletter sooner, but I did not get around to it. You see, I've been procrastinating.

Do you have projects that seem to linger? Tasks that nomadically drift from one day's todo list to the next? Yah, me too.

Most procrastination cures prescribe productivity tips. However, we both know about productivity, that's not it...

So, what do we do about it? I have found it is about... momentum.

Five Tips to Beat Procrastination

Newton (Sir Isaac, not Fig) in his first law of motion, declares, "An object will stay at rest or continue at a constant velocity unless acted upon by an external force."

(A shout-out to all who have been writing and asking me to weave Newtonian mechanics in my newsletter!)

In plainer English... Unless you add a force to them... things that are still, stay still. Things in motion stay in motion.

Forces To Get You Moving

  • Block Distractions & Interruptions - Do your best to block out or get away from distractions and things that cause you to lose focus. Get yourself to a conducive space.
  • Take Smaller Bites - Trying to figure out how to eat it in one bite? - Break big projects into smaller chunk tasks. You'll feel the adrenaline when you get that first task done... and the project is now in motion.
  • Figure Out Priorities, Know Where to Start - Perhaps you've broken it up into smaller chunks, but it still feels like it is hitting you all at once? Put the first things first. Use the Idea Sandbox Prioritizer Tool to assist.
  • Stop Perfectionism - You want to do it perfectly, or not at all, right? Don't be fooled... This is probably your mind helping you justify procrastination. Try doing it "not perfect" to get something done, and make adjustments in Round 2. "Good enough" is good enough to get started.
  • Keep Yourself Fresh: 48/12 Rule - For each hour, work for 48 minutes followed by a 12 minute break. This really works. The 12-minutes gives you a nice break. The 48-minute push helps you crank through your work. Even if you're on a roll, still take a refresher break. (Especially if your work requires using a computer screen... the 12-minutes is a nice break for your eyes... and in the end reduces overall fatigue).

If All Else Fails...

If none of these ideas works for you, I recommend picking up Steven Pressfield's book "The War of Art." I have yet to meet anyone whose butt this book didn't kick into gear. It's that good.

Well, I hope these ideas help you. I wish you the best in getting things in motion.

Take care,

Paul's First Name


Paul Williams
momentum initiator
Idea Sandbox

Idea Sandbox • Seattle | Amsterdam