Here’s two common problems:
- Task avoidance. You know what you should be doing. But you don’t do it. It gets embarrassingly overdue. Shame & guilt lie heavy. But still you can’t get started.
- Perfectionism. You’ve already put hours and hours more into a project than you should have. But it’s still not done. There are final adjustments. You’re waiting on some critical element. You can’t let it go.
They look like very different problems. Yet the same solution can work in each case.
You set aside an amount of time – which can be quite brief, as little as half an hour or less. You commit to doing something on the project, but only for the agreed time period. To emphasise that, you set a timer. When it goes off, you stop. You get on with something else. If necessary you set aside another short time period to work on it again.
Before long, the problem’s disappeared. Avoiders find they’ve progressed the job. Perfectionists find they’re ready to sign it off.
The method is known as time boxing. There’s no shortage of analysis as to why it should work. Procrastinators discover that the task wasn’t actually so bad. The anxiety was all in their mind. Avoiders get a reality check about how long they’re spending. That objective view provides what they need to move on.