This week sees most of our clients returning to work, which means it’s the first Monday in months that I haven’t been able to dedicate to writing (and related projects). I’m fine with this, as long as it is this one time because it’d be a lot more stressful to not be on top of things tomorrow.
Normally, my writing Mondays — a fairly new conception — are holy, written in stone, as it were. I protect them with a fervor because they keep me focused, and moving towards my various goals. These days has become a powerful tool to me, although they can’t get the job done completely, obviously.
The past few days I’ve stumbled onto several articles about how to get going, to get started, to get things done. It’s only natural, people want, and perhaps need, to read about these things after a period of downtime (i.e., the holidays). Most of these pieces are, to me, utter rubbish. It’s frustratingly bad advice, simplifications, or complications alike, to a truly personal problem.
So, I’ll share my advice on how to get started after downtime, how to get things done that you know you have to, but you’d rather procrastinate. It’s quite simple, but it can be hard, nonetheless.
Do it for ten minutes.
That’s it. Just commit ten minutes to that horrible task, that thing you really don’t want to do. It’s just ten minutes, you can do it. Set a timer and get started, don’t look up, no distractions, just that one thing, for then minutes. Then you’re free.
Ten minutes aren’t always enough. Chances are, it’s not near enough, but if you get ten minutes in, that often makes it so much easier to add another ten minutes, or just tick the bugger off. And, if it’s not, then you’ve done your ten minutes, made some progress, so now you get to do something else. Schedule another ten minutes later, or even better, make it twenty minutes. Twenty minutes isn’t so bad, is it? Do that one thing for twenty minutes, then you get to play a game for ten minutes. Then you do that thing for another twenty minutes, and play a game again, for another ten minutes.
Rinse and repeat.
It’s a well-proven technique that goes under many names. They’re not relevant, getting boring, but important things out of the way is. The best part is, it works every day when you need it, not just after holidays. So, getting closer to those goals, even on the days where you’re just not feeling up to it, isn’t impossible. It’s just ten minutes, after all.