The lack of momentum is one of the biggest reasons why people procrastinate. We can look at physics to easily see why this is the case. Because according to the laws of physics, something that’s already moving is much easier to keep moving compared to trying to move something that’s standing still.
In other words, if you’re already taking some action (no matter how small), it’s much easier to keep taking action — and to increase in pace (aka higher productivity). However, when you’re not taking action, you’re essentially standing still. And according to physics, an object that’s standing still is a lot harder to get in motion.
Therefore it’s critical that we start to get into motion and get some momentum behind us. Because as soon as we have momentum, we don’t want to stop. We don’t want to procrastinate. We want to move, take action, hustle and get stuff done. At those moments, motivation is at peak levels and we’re most productive.
Technique 1: Chunking
Let’s say you have an intimidating goal or project such as starting a business, launching a new product or losing a lot of weight. In the beginning, this project seems almost like a mountain you can’t climb. There are so many things to do and so many moving parts involved with accomplishing this project that it’s simply too overwhelming.
What happens in such cases? Right, you’ll start to procrastinate. Because it’s much easier, less frustrating and less intimidating to procrastinate. Luckily, I’ve developed an awesome solution to fight this overwhelm and lack of clarity quite easily: Chunking.
Chunking is essentially the process of breaking down a large goal or project into many different, bite-sized, tasks. This way, it’s no longer this intimidating mountain you need to climb, but you’re simply focussed on taking the very next step (again and again).
So, write down all the tasks that you can think of that are necessary to accomplish your goal at this point in time. Remember, you can always add more tasks on the go as you come up with them. But just focus on what you can come up with right now. The list you’ve now created is what I like to call your ‘Masterlist’.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by your big project or goal, you’re going to take a look at your ‘Masterlist’, where you can find all the bite-sized tasks that you’ve identified so far. Simply pick a few tasks of this last and start tackling them one by one. Each time you complete a task, cross it off your list and pick out the next task.
This way, you create the clarity on what exact tasks to work on and you start to get motivated about your progress. This’ll keep procrastination on the low for a while 😉
Technique 2: Chunking 2.0
One of the best ways to gain momentum fast is by following the strategy I’d like to call ‘Chunking 2.0’. In this strategy, we’re expanding on the previously productivity technique of ‘Chunking’, which is creating a Masterlist of our goal/project. With this version 2.0 we’re simply going to look at our Masterlist and we’re going to pick out the 3 easiest and quickest to accomplish tasks. Really make sure these tasks are easy and quick to accomplish, preferably within 15–30 minutes.
Now, simply pick out 1 of these tasks and work on it until it’s fully complete. Resolve not to quit. Just finish the task. When you’re done, cross off the task on your Masterlist (like this). This is very important, as it’ll give you a sense of progress and accomplishment, which are two critical ingredients for momentum.
Focus on how you feel about yourself. Be can be proud of yourself for taking action and breaking the cycle of procrastination. Give yourself a pat on the back.
Technique 3: The ‘15-Minute’ Exercise
Maybe the tasks you need to work on aren’t easy and quick to accomplish at all, and that’s why you’re procrastinating. In that case, ‘Chunking 2.0’ is a bit harder to use. But I’ve got another trick up the sleeve to gain momentum fast. This ‘trick’ is what I call the ‘15-Minute’ exercise.
The 15-Minute exercise is VERY simple:
- Step 1: Pick out the task that you should be working on.
- Step 2: Set a timer for 15 minutes
- Step 3: Work for 15 minutes on the task
This strategy works so well because we’re starting to get in motion. And remember, something that’s already in motion is a lot easier to keep in motion (it’s a law of physics!). You’ll probably notice that you won’t stop after the 15 minutes end. It’s very likely that you’ll continue. You’re already putting in the effort. You’re already in motion. You’re already getting some momentum going. This will motivate you to continue working.
And even if it doesn’t — when you stop working when the 15-minutes end — you still started. This will make it 10x easier to pick it up the next day.
It’s Up To You
All of these 3 strategies I shared will help you achieve higher motivation and productivity. But ultimately they won’t work if you don’t truly want them to work.
You are responsible. This is your life. No one is going to save you or make you successful. You have to do it yourself. You need to decide what’s important to you and your life. You need to decide what your priorities are.
Every decision you make shapes your destiny, either for better or worse. And if you truly want to achieve your goals and get the results you want in life — you’ve gotta make the decision to put in the effort and fight procrastination.
Do whatever is necessary to make it work. Change your lifestyle and base it around high performance. Adopt new habits (no matter how small some of them are) that’ll help you get into peak state and prevent you from falling into a lousy state.
Everything is possible, it’s up to you to make it happen.
Now Do It
As an action point for this article, pick out at least 1 of these strategies and use it the next time you don’t feel motivated and you’re thinking about procrastinating. Remember, taking action is the only thing that’ll get you forward in life.
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab
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