Overcome Procrastination: My “10-Minute Dash” Technique to Get a Task Going

How to Overcome Procrastination

“He has half the deed done who has made a beginning.”
Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus)

Procrastination: “Why do now what I can do later

'Procrastination is the thief of time.' -- Edward Young Simply, procrastination is a choice to delay an action with the intent to act later.

Most of us are prone to procrastination on tasks big and small. Some of our postponement-problems are instigated by fears of incompletion and failure, or, from assuming that the tasks we face are tedious. Often, our procrastination is nothing more than resentment to working on tasks assigned by others.

The “10-Minute Dash” Technique

The next time you face a ‘job’ that appears overwhelming or unpleasant, beat the temptation to postpone action by committing to work on the job for just ten minutes. Follow these four simple steps.

  • Overcoming Procrastination Consider the ‘job‘ at hand and break it down. Pick two or three simple component-‘tasks‘. For instance, if you want to clean your study room, your component tasks could be to clean the bookshelf, organize the study-desk, etc.
  • Commit to focus on your chosen tasks for just ten minutes. Use a timer, if necessary. For ten minutes, do nothing but your chosen tasks.
  • Avoid distractions or interruptions. For instance, if you unearth Aunt Stella’s letter while cleaning a bookshelf, continue to clean–you can read her letter later.
  • Do not give up. Two minutes into the ten-minute dash, if you find your chosen task tedious, do not stop. After all, you have just eight more minutes to go.

Beginning a Task Builds Momentum

There are two distinct outcomes of doing a ten-minute dash.

  • Procrastination: Beginning a Task Builds Momentum Often, at the end of ten minutes of uninterrupted work, you feel good about working towards your goal. It is likely that beginning to work on the job built a momentum; you got absorbed in the tasks. In contrast to your presumption, the job may turn out to be rather easy and pleasant. Continue to work—schedule ten, twenty or thirty more minutes of work.
  • The less likely outcome is that the ten minutes of work reinforced some of your displeasures about the job. Still, your achievement was that, at the very least, you got ten minutes of work done. If you do not wish to continue working on the task, commit to resume your work later. Ask yourself, “When can I start again?”

Concluding Thoughts

One of the easiest techniques to overcoming procrastination is to begin. Quite often, seemingly difficult tasks get easier once you get working on them. In short time, you get into the ‘flow’ and work towards completion.


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