Most of us, at one time or another, procrastinate. There are whole books about procrastination, what it is, why it is and what to do about it. Sometimes you procrastinate because you hate the task itself - it's boring or time consuming or just not something you enjoy.
Sometimes you procrastinate out of fear - you don't want to know what's in that pile or how the client is going to respond.
Most of the time, procrastination only makes things worse by creating additional stress; the task is always on your 'to do' list or in the back of your mind, but it never gets done.
One way to combat procrastination is with the 15 minute 'fix:'
- Set a timer for 15 minutes and make sure you will be completely uninterrupted during that time.
- Set the item or task in front of you (if it's a phone call, get the number and put it in front of you).
- Stare at it for 15 minutes.
- Do not allow yourself to do anything else - no web surfing, answering calls, reading the newspaper, making lists of other things to do, or even daydreaming - until the timer goes off. Focus on what you've been procrastinating about.
15 minutes isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things, and there's a good chance that you can find 15 minutes in a day or even a week to focus on a task that you know needs to be done, as much as you might loathe it. The act of setting the timer and staring at the task is likely to make you nuts long before your 15 minutes is up. Rather than thinking and worrying about it, with no escape, you're much more likely to get started on it.
Perhaps it's something that can be delegated (at least in part) to someone else. Or perhaps you'll realize that it's a task you don't need to do at all. Even better. Now you've freed yourself from thinking about it.
You don't have to finish the task, but you can't do anything else until the timer goes off. Taking that first step will create the momentum you need. When the timer goes off, you're free to stop - or to continue working, once you've realized it's just better to get it over with.