Here’s a thought as you’re planning the rest of your week…
When I’m procrastinating, which is often, it’s almost always because I’m not exactly clear on my next step. Or I’ve defined what I’m trying to do as something too big.
It just sits there on my to-do list. Staring back at me, while my mind finds anything else to do.
“Write this article” or “Write this blog post,” or “Write this book” all seem daunting…and final.
I started looking at the VERB I use to describe what I’m asking myself to do. I started making a list of the verbs that go along with the action that I should be taking.
Often, I would see things on my to-do list just as nouns. Nouns almost always get procrastinated
“Blog Post.” “Newsletter.” “Article.” “Garage.” “Taxes.”
When I say, “Write blog post,” that’s a very daunting thing, especially if I don’t know what the next step is.
So I made a list of my power-verbs. Things I actually LIKE to do, and I found four power-verbs that are really the key to me getting things done.
Write is a verb that immediately triggers procrastination, but Brainstorm is something I’m ready to do right now. I could brainstorm at the drop of a hat. I’m ready right now. I love brainstorming.
As an idea-guy there’s nothing better than coming up with ideas.
Brainstorming is a wonderful activity to trick our mind into taking action because it doesn’t sound like there is any commitment to it.
Like finger painting on a clean sheet of paper.
Whenever I find procrastination kicking in on any task, I’ll change the description verb to Brainstorm…and that immediately sets off a power sequence where brainstorming leads to outlining, and then from an outline I can record a conversation or record an audio with just talking points from the outline, and then I can edit my transcripts.
I even created an acronym for my power-verbs.
Brainstorm > Outline > Record > Edit
If I just follow wherever I am on the sequence, it seems effortless. It’s easy to brainstorm…easy to outline…I can talk about anything with a good outline…and it’s always easier to edit than to write from a blank page.
It’s how I’m “writing” this.
I think this will fit for almost anything you’re procrastinating. Procrastination is usually about putting off creating some level of output, or completion.
Take a look at the list of things that you’ve been procrastinating lately.
Are you using a big, daunting verb to describe it? Or maybe just a noun describing the thing you have to address.
Try putting the word brainstorm in front of it…and watch what happens to your energy.
I think once you just make that simple verb shift and you call it “brainstorming.” You’re going to enjoy the effortless way the thoughts come free-form. Then notice, as they’re coming in they start to take an outline form, and you start to see the connections and your immediate next steps become clear.
I always find brainstorming very clearly leads to outlining, which is something more structured. Once you’ve got the outline, that gives you clarity…and the action comes from the clarity of knowing what the next step is. Often it doesn’t even take that long to get to it. You’ll be surprised.
Even ten minutes of brainstorming the outcome or brainstorming the call you’re putting off, or the email, or blog post makes a big difference.
Brainstorming always has a payoff. At the end you’re clear. Once you’re clear, it’s easy to take action, because you get that momentum of being excited about it.
Let me know if the “trick” works for you!
This is very interesting to me, a professional procrastinator. I will try it out. Thanks