I often find that the hardest part of completing any project is just taking that first step to start the project. For example, once I’ve written the first sentence for a motion or brief, I find that the rest starts coming pretty quickly. The same is true for pretty much any project I have. Thus, it’s often true that fighting procrastination is the biggest battle I face with any project. Once I get started, it’s much easier to complete than I may have initially anticipated. If you’re struggling with procrastination, these tips might help you as much as they helped me:
1. Start small
Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part. If you’re writing, just start with the first sentence. Don’t try to seek perfection right away. Instead, just start typing and see where it leads. You can always reiterate and revise.
2. Go for a walk
You might ask: “Isn’t going for a walk, when I need to perform work, procrastination?” Not necessarily. It’s my experience that depending on the reason I’m procrastinating, a short walk is the best solution. For example, when I need to harness my creativity (to find a novel legal argument or to come up with the topic for a blog post) I find that a short walk outside can help clear my mind to give me the creative juice I need to get working.
Similarly, I sometimes procrastinate because my mind is exhausted or groggy. A short walk gets my blood flowing and wakes up my mind. When I return to my desk afterwards I often find that I’m ready to go. Keep the walk short (no more than 5-10 minutes) and get working as soon as you return.
3. Tie a reward to your work
It can help to mentally tie a reward to your project. If there is some treat you’ve been craving, tell yourself that you can only have it after you’ve completed the project you’ve been procrastinating on. That can often create the incentive you need to start working.
4. Break a big project up into a smaller project
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by large projects. Sometimes it’s hard to determine where to even start. In these situations it’s best to break the project down into small pieces. Create an outline dividing your work up into more manageable parts. If the work still feels daunting break those pieces up into even smaller projects. Once you have pieces that feel more approachable, tackle them one by one.
If you have any tips for battling procrastination, share them with us in the comments section.
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