How To Get Started At Most Anything

© Jack Schiffer |

© Jack Schiffer |

Are you a professional procrastinator? Many of us are. I haven’t had much of a problem with procrastination, as I have always considered it a challenge to see how quickly I could get things done. Honestly, I just found it stressful to have a lot of things on my plate, and I still do, so I try to cross things off my list as quickly as possible. But that’s not realistic, and it can be very stressful.

Thankfully, I have now found more balance in my life. I am more likely to decide how to get the important things done and how to let the unimportant things wait another day.  I can usually tell the difference between urgent items and important items on my list.  But what about those things that are neither urgent nor important in the grand scheme of things? What about things we want to do? How do we find the time to do those things? How do we get started? Maybe you’d like to finish that novel you started writing years ago, or learn to play the guitar, or learn to paint. Whatever it is that you’d like to find time to do, I’m going to give you an idea that just might help.

There is a simple, common tool, that may help you to carve out time to get started. Chances are good that you already own one…it’s a timer! Make use of your kitchen timer or use the one you have on your cell phone. You can use that timer to give yourself the gift of time to do something that you want to do (or even something you need to do that you’ve been putting off!)  I am going to use my blog writing as an example. I set my timer for one hour and force myself to work uninterruptedly on this blog. I try before I start to make sure I will have no interruptions. If, for any reason, I need to stray from my blog progress, I will push the “pause” button on my timer. When I return, I will start the timer once again. When the timer sounds I consider myself done.

Almost without fail I am surprised when the timer goes off. That could not have been one hour! One hour of uninterrupted work on something I really wanted to do, for myself, but couldn’t find the time to do. But I did it, and I did it for one solid hour. To be honest, I’m always amazed at how much I get done when I use a completely uninterrupted hour. Wow, progress!

So, yes, the timer is ticking away even as I type this. It’s not that writing this blog is something I don’t want to do, because I absolutely love writing this blog. It’s just about finding the time to do it and getting started doing it. My time is sandwiched between chores and responsibilities, things that absolutely have to get done. But for some reason, carving out that hour seems impossible until I do it, until I’ve done it. If your life is incredibly busy, I’d suggest you start with a half hour or even twenty minutes. You will be amazed with how much you can get done if you commit to this plan and work uninterrupted, which is really the key. Then you can set a schedule to try this every day, or even just a few days a week.

I seem to recall that I learned this trick from a clever pediatrician when my kids were small.  It’s been a great idea that I’ve used for myself and with my kids.  It works, and I continue to use it to this day. I urge you to try it. Take out your timer and set it. Give yourself the gift of getting started. Because, as they say, you are worth it!


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