My senior year of high school, I took a college English course.  One of the requirements for this course was to write an essay every week.  I don’t remember what the topics were; however, I do remember each essay had a minimum number of words and I started off the year by putting off writing these essays to the last minute.

My procrastination left me feeling rushed and frustrated when the 11th hour loomed.  I also knew, the essays I created were not the highest quality I could deliver. 

Even at this young age, I inherently knew I needed to setup a routine to get me started.  After a few weeks of struggling to meet the essay deadline, I decided to start writing my essay on Monday afternoon right after school.  Once I got home, I setup a space to write in our living room with a comfy chair, table, a pad of paper and a special pen, with no other distractions on the table.  The living room wasn’t used very much, so it felt special to be working in this room! I also sat close to the window so I could absorb the late afternoon natural light.  Before starting to write, I put the same album on the stereo (am I showing my age?).  Then, I would sit down and begin.  I would continue writing until I had a finished product, ready to hand in later that week.  

Once I implemented this “startup routine”, I didn’t put off writing these essays. Like clockwork, I got them written and turned in.  Additionally, I was writing high quality essays, instead of the “fly by the seat of your pants” essays I had started out the year doing. 

I’m surprised at what my younger self knew instinctively about overcoming procrastination. For example, I booked the same time every week on my schedule to write these essays and, most importantly, I kept that appointment.    

Another thing I discovered was that music provided me with a positive trigger.  When the album started to play and I sat down in front of the blank paper, I knew it was time to write.  Many, many years later I have used this same technique to write numerous newsletters for Better Than Ever Coaching.  Only this time, it’s one song, it’s an .mp3 file and I write using my computer, instead of pen and paper. 

I did well in my high school college English class.  At the time, I didn’t know I was learning a valuable lesson about how to prevent procrastination, but I did!

Did you like this post?  Be sure to check out the upcoming “Get Started Now: 5 Ways to Outsmart Procrastination” workshop for more ways to get started now!

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Helen Kosinski

Since 2005, trusted confidant and sage Helen Kosinski has partnered with small business owners and corporate leaders who are too busy to think straight.Together they unlock creative steps to strip away what isn’t working and replace it with an inventive work life, allowing her clients to freely enjoy what’s most meaningful to them.
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