A Crazy Effective Way to Stop Procrastination in 30 Seconds or Less

​Guest post by Marsha Kelly

Is procrastination a problem for you? Not anymore with my simple highly effective solution.

As an entrepreneur, I wrestle with my inner procrastinator daily! I just discovered this surprisingly effective way to kill procrastination. It's easy, free and portable.

Sure I have good intentions of finishing that logo design project or getting started on my social media campaign, but it just never seems to happen. 🙁 

Invariably my road to stalled success is paved with those good intentions covered with a nice thick layer of good old procrastination that I thought was impenetrable - until now.

A best selling author introduced me to this procrastination-busting technique that he used to write his books.  He didn’t always feel like writing and found it hard to get motivated until he discovered this tip.

Why it Works so Well to Kill Procrastination

The truth of procrastination is that you don’t do it when you are actively doing something, you only procrastinate BEFORE you do something. I know this sounds simplistic but follow along with me for a moment.

Procrastinating is the action of delaying, or postponing starting something. It is putting off the beginning, as opposed to when you are doing something when you are in motion and thus not procrastinating. 

So if we can short-circuit our brains to get started, we can bust procrastination. So as you guessed it, the sticking point of procrastination is the getting started part. Because once you get started, you will not be procrastinating - so the trick is to get yourself started. 

The Simple Stop Procrastination Technique in 30 Seconds

The key is to make starting super doable, and a bit fun too.  The tip is to agree to get started on the task for a crazy short amount of time like 30 seconds, or 1 minute if you like. Anything, no matter how tedious or difficult can be endured for under 1 minute.

By setting this super short time limit for the job, your mind lowers its resistance to getting started. Remember getting started is the key to overcoming procrastination.  

So instead of agreeing to write for one hour, decide to write for 30 seconds and then IF, you want to continue wonderful - if not then stop. Maybe you come back to the task later or tomorrow. Agree with yourself that you will not feel guilty if you do not continue, that at least you have done something towards your project completion -which is better than nothing.

Inevitably you will find that once you have begun your momentum and interest level will urge you to continue after the 30 seconds. Use your mobile phone or a kitchen timer set to 30 seconds. This is the fun part because my timer looks like a tomato. You could also set your cell phone timer to a fun ringtone. Often once your interest is sparked, and you may begin to feel “ready” to tackle that task after that 30 seconds warm up work.

DON’T trick yourself by always pushing yourself beyond the 30 seconds - that will backfire and your inner procrastinator will rebel and stop working entirely. Mine did. Let it be OK to stop after 30 seconds and move onto another activity for a while or for the day.

You may think this is too simple. Try it yourself. It does work very well.

Scientists have used proven the value of this technique in exercise studies.  They compared exercisers:

       - One group who used this method of agreeing to start by doing just one push-up per day and continuing with more only if they wanted to.

       - Another group who decided to do 20 pushups per day.

Ultimately, the group who agreed to do only one a day and proceed as motivated did overall more pushups than the 20 per day group. This is because the group that set out to do 20 push-ups, you guessed it, procrastinated and did none some days, quit early and only did 10 and then did not do any pushups for many days in a row.

My Results of Applying Procrastination Technique in Business

My biggest procrastination problem was writing daily blog posts. I enjoy connecting with my readers, but I found the writing job daunting and often procrastinated until well past the deadline. Then I felt pressure, guilt and stress. Yuck.

First time I tried this technique I felt silly. I thought how are 30 seconds going to change my poor work habit and get this writing done? Well, I had nothing to lose and a backlog of blog posts to write, so I gave it a try and boy was I surprised!

I set the timer for 30 seconds and started writing a blog post right away. Funny when the timer went off I was so engrossed in writing and I was actually enjoying it, so I continued.

When I finished the post and published it, I felt so good and instantly fell in love with this technique and have used it ever since.

Sometimes I don’t want to continue the task, so I don’t. This is an important step - to allow myself not to continue lets my mind know that I will honor its decision to proceed or not.

Because my work is a series of cumulative actions that add up over time, if I get started more often and continue some of the time I will get vastly more done that if I never get started and do nothing.

​Most good ideas, like this one are simple. Give this procrastination hack a try and see if it works as well for you as it does me. Good luck.

About the Author:  Marsha Kelly sold her first business for more than a million dollars. She has shared hard-won experiences as a successful serial entrepreneur on her Best4Businesses blog, where she also regularly posts business tips, ideas, and suggestions as well as product reviews for business readers. As a serial entrepreneur who has done “time” in corporate America, Marsha has learned what products and services work well in business today. You can learn from her experiences to build your business.

Nancy Gaines

Nancy Gaines is CEO/Founder of Gain Advantages Inc. and has been advising small businesses and Fortune 100 companies how to increase revenues through proven systems for almost two decades. She is a best-selling author and international keynote speaker. Nancy has been named in the Top 100 Productivity Experts to follow on Twitter and has a global podcast downloaded in over 95 countries. Her main focus is creating business processes with actionable steps so her clients achieve more consistency, ease, and ultimate success.