It is a good rule of thumb to immediately do tasks that take less than two minutes to do. It’s a way to clear “little task” clutter. I’m talking about making that quick phone call to the hotel where you left a personal item to ask them to mail it back to you. Or, taking items all the way up to the attic instead of letting things accumulate at the bottom of the stairs. Or, filling out a form that needs to be sent back to school with your child.
If it’s a good rule of thumb, why did the little pile of the last Christmas decorations sit on a table annoying me for a week before I finally pulled down the attic stairs and put them away? Hmmm. . . .
I think I procrastinate on tasks that I think will take more time than they actually do. In my head pulling down those stairs, climbing the stairs and putting those items away seemed like a lot to do. The whole task took less than a minute to complete when I finally made myself do it!
I also procrastinate when there’s something I need to do before I can actually complete the action. In the case of the Christmas decorations, I really needed to get a plastic bag to put them in so they won’t get covered with attic scum. Just having to do that one simple, easy step before I could complete the task kept me procrastinating. Amazing!
And, finally, I procrastinate about things where there is a possibility of discomfort. In this case, the attic is very cold right now. I don’t like to go into cold places. That was the icing on the procrastination cake for me.
Wow! There were quite a few barriers to me getting those decorations to the attic! Time, an extra task and discomfort barriers. It wasn’t just one thing.
The next time you find yourself procrastinating about doing something that really should not be a big deal, take a moment to see if you can identify the physical, perceptual, emotional or psychological barriers.
The first barrier I addressed was to get the plastic bag. That was easy! Once I did that and everything was ready to go, it was much easier to deal with my thinking about how long it might take to do the task and my dread of the cold. Often if you can make yourself take the first step, just removing the first barrier will give you the momentum to finish the task.
What two minute task are you procrastinating about? What’s the first step you must take to get it done? Just do it! Clearing “little task” clutter will allow you to more clearly see what really matters and make better decisions in every area of your life!