The Art of Getting Started

Five easy tips to stop thinking and start doing

Full disclosure: I procrastinate all the time. I doubt I am alone. I will often make grand plans or a long to-do list or be excited about the next book I want to write or course I want to create and then I start overthinking. Fear and doubt creep in. What started as the next best thing since sliced bread becomes another handful of coffee-stained pages in a college-ruled composition book casually tossed on the floor next to the piles of cat fur.

Procrastination is a habit that I keep wanting to change but never seem to get around to.

That reminds me of an old friend who was a specialty advertising product salesman. He always had something else going on the side that he was peddling- usually some form of MLM or get-rich-quick scheme. He was shameless about self-promotion often pushing his plans in a private club without scruples for what others may think. Time after time he’d hear no—

“I don’t have the time.”

“I don’t have the money.”

“Not now.” They’d say.

“If not now, when?”, he’d press.

“I dunno. When I get around to it,” was the frequent response.

Then he came up with a bold plan. With each rejection, rather than handing them a business card and saying call me if you change your mind, he’d hand them a medallion. On the face, it said, “Round to it”. On the back were his name and phone number.

It was hilarious, like an adept prosecutor, he’d lead the prospect to say, “When I get around to it.” And as he handed them the medallion, he’d smile and say well now you’re out of excuses, because you have a “round to it.”

This story goes back thirty-five years and I often return to it whenever I put off something or feel stuck.

It’s interesting how creative people can become when trying to solve something so simple.

There are many ways to break the procrastination habit. It’s interesting how creative people can become when trying to solve something so simple.

All we really need is one: Do it.

Just fucking do it.

That’s right stop thinking, worrying, trying to get all the ducks lined up and the planets to align and for mercury to get out of retrograde, and make a list of shit that’s important to you and just fucking do it.

But you don’t understand… Yes, I do. 100%. Because I am right there with you. I buy into my own bullshit excuses of why I don’t do something all the time. And, like you, I have my own reasons for not doing “it” yet. Most of them are based on some type of fear—failure; rejection; unknown, etc. The list of excuses is as long as we want to make it.

The list of solutions is not nearly as long. In fact, most of the stress we have in our lives would be eliminated if we just got the shit done that we wanted to when it ought to be done and stopped putting it off until we feel like it.

Could you imagine if businesses were run only when we felt like doing the work? How would that work out?

Why then should we expect our personal goals and “to-dos” to be less important than what we do to earn a living?

We shouldn’t right?

So what are the five easy tips to overcome procrastination?

#1 Know what it is you want to do (Make a list and prioritize it).

#2 Make a decision and become willing to do it.

#3 Know why you want it—what will it mean to you when you do it?

How does the success of completing it make you feel or improve your life?

#4 Make a plan to get it done.

#5 Do one thing to move you closer to completing it every day until it’s done.

Easy right? So what are you waiting for? Get to it.

Want a FREE PLANNING TOOL TO OVERCOME PROCRASTINATION?

Visit shawnlangwell.com and sign up for my email list.

I don’t sell your name and only use it to send any latest musings, advice, or life lessons. If you need more encouragement, shoot me a message: at shawnlangwellwriter@gmail.com. If you want to learn more about silencing your inner critics, overcoming procrastination, getting over writers’ block, or increasing your self-confidence, you should buy and read my latest book, Ten Seconds of Boldness. It will change your life if you are willing to change.

Photo by Chad Greiter on Unsplash

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