Today’s tip is about a technique for overcoming procrastination called “15-Minute Power Chunks”.
The Problem: Lack of Follow Through
How often do you find yourself thinking, “I really need to do this (i.e., a certain activity) because I know that doing it will significantly improve my business (life, relationship, career, etc.).”? In other words, you know exactly what to do to get the results you want, but you don’t follow through. If this is you, understand that you are not alone. More important than making this confession is to understand why this dynamic happens and what you can do about it.
In short, lack of action (or power) happens because we are associating more pain to doing the activity than not doing it. At first this may seem crazy because the rewards of following through on the activity are pretty large.
With large goals come large challenges. Large challenges can be painful – usually taking the form of feeling overwhelmed, fearing rejection or wanting to avoid failure. As a result, we migrate towards other activities which we know we can succeed at, but will have only a marginal impact on our business.
The Cure: 15-Minute Power Chunks
Most people believe that motivation must precede taking massive action. The fact is that productive action usually comes first. You have to prime the pump by getting started whether you feel like it or not. Once you begin something, it will often spur you on to do more.
An easy way to take immediate action in the midst of overwhelm is to utilize a concept I call 15-Minute Power Chunks. The way to conquer overwhelm is to simplify the task. Here’s how:
- Commit to working on the task for 15 minutes, giving it your all. You are working in short spurts.
- Understand that there is no requirement to spend one second more than 15 minutes.
- At the end of 15 minutes, if you want to keep working (gosh – do you have momentum now?), see it as “extra credit”.
The advantages of using 15-Minute Power Chunks are:
- You will take immediate action. An overwhelming task gets bigger in our minds the more we think about it. As it grows, we are less inclined to act. This approach gets you started!
- The task will seem less overwhelming. As you get started the task doesn’t seem as impossible. What matters more than how difficult the task really is is how difficult we believe it is.
- You will get a sense of accomplishment soon after you begin. A reward in just 15 minutes, not bad!
- You won’t be as tempted to procrastinate because you’ll never be obligated to do more than 15 minutes at any time. You can do even an unpleasant task for 15 minutes.
- You will most likely get a better result. Cramming in everything at once is not the best way to master an assignment.
This Week’s Coaching Challenge
At this point you may be thinking “15 minutes seems like such a short amount of time – how can you really accomplish anything significant?” Yes, 15 minutes is a short amount of time and that is the beauty of this approach! Doesn’t 15 minutes of powerful action beat hours of worry, avoidance and inaction?
I invite you to take on this challenge:
Spend one day using 15-Minute Power Chunks and see if you don’t accomplish more!
Leave a comment and let us know what happens.
(Contributed by David C Miller.)