Beat Procrastination by Separating the Task and the Delivery
It’s a simple way to stop putting off hard things
If something’s important to us, we want to get it done right. The challenge is, the longer we wait, the more perfect it needs to be to justify the waiting. Perhaps in a bid to stay consistent with our inaction, our brains come up with reasons to wait longer to do something. We build it up in our heads. For example, it must be really difficult to do, that’s why we’ve waited so long.
This is how one form of writer’s block tends to build up. The more time we spend waiting, the more we expect from the final work, the more impossible the expectation is to meet, and the more discouraged we get when we actually write.
The main challenge is, if we don’t take action, nothing happens. And we don’t feel ready to take action today — what if we could do something better tomorrow, when we were more ready (or had more time, researched better options, or had more definitive plans, etc.)?
The solution to this is simple: Change your default to take action, and separate the acts of completing a task and releasing that task. Thanks to the power of technology, we can choose to take action, complete a task, and schedule it to release later into the world. We can always choose to take it back if we change our minds between actually completing the task, and releasing the task into the world.
You can take five minutes to change that with technology by scheduling something to happen in the future.
Example #1: Sending an important email
Let’s say you have someone you want to reach out to. Maybe it’s asking someone you read about how they did something, or whether they know about a related topic you’re researching. You respect them, you see an opportunity to learn, but you don’t want to make a fool of yourself.
Today, you can write up that email in five minutes. With an email finder tool like Norbert, or Name2email, you can find someone’s email in less than one minute. You can then write up a subject line, “Connecting with [insert name here] + topic,” and write up your body text. Or, if you’re really at a loss for where to start, you can Google an email template as a…