A couple of questions came in from Mary Lee and Minda regarding procrastination. I’ll combine them here. Question: I am constantly putting things off that I know I need to do. Do you have any tips on breaking that bond of procrastination?
Answer: As a recovering procrastinator, I can relate to their challenges!
Meeting Wendy: A Turning Point in My Battle with Procrastination
Around 12 years ago, while participating in programs to scale and grow my coaching business, I had the privilege of meeting a colleague Wendy Joy Hart. I have always believed hiring somebody two to three times beyond where I am and having them tell me how they got here is an excellent investment that saves me a lot of time.
During this time, I was transitioning out of my recruiting firm and building my coaching business from the ground up. My office was engulfed in files and paperwork from various areas of my life. Campaign management documents, coaching-related materials, and responsibilities from my involvement in the local Little League cluttered every corner of my workspace. The overwhelming sight of it all pushed me further into procrastination. Feeling frustrated, I turned to Wendy for guidance.
The Power of the Minimum Effective Dose
I said, it is covering the floor of my office, and when I look at it, I just get overwhelmed, and I procrastinate doing anything. Can you help me?
She asks, can you file, throw away, or act on one piece of paper at a minimum per day? Can you make that commitment?
I’m like, oh yeah, sure, of course, I can do that.
She said, no, no, no. That is all I want you to do, can you do that? You don’t have to stop at one piece of paper, but you must start and commit to it.
I had heard this process coined somewhere else as “The Minimum Effective Dose.” What she taught me in that process, in our conversation over lunch, was that one of the reasons people procrastinate is perfectionism; you feel you need to have all your ducks lined up. It is usually based in fear or overwhelm, and starting is the hardest part. If you can make starting easy, you can build momentum.
Applying the Minimum Effective Dose: My Journey to Decluttering
Here’s what happened… On the first day, I picked up a manila folder and started by discarding the top piece of paper. But instead of stopping there, I went one step further. I created a dedicated file drawer for my Little League activities. In a rush to be somewhere the next day, I quickly glanced at one piece of paper and threw it away. Despite the brevity of the task, I had fulfilled my commitment for the day. And you know what? I never missed a single day. Some days, I dedicated hours to organizing and sorting through the piles. On other days, I spent just a few minutes. But the important thing was that I remained committed.
What happened next is hard to believe. In less than a month, my cluttered office underwent a complete transformation. What had seemed like an insurmountable challenge gradually became manageable, all thanks to consistency and the power of the minimum effective dose. You win if you hit the minimum standard.
The Metaphor of the Treadmill: Building Momentum
You might also relate to the metaphor Wendy shared with me about somebody who was having trouble starting her exercise routine. This client had a treadmill sitting unused for over a year, collecting dust and clothing.
Wendy asked the client about her favorite thing to do in the morning, to which the client replied, “I like to read my paper and drink my coffee.” So, Wendy told her to stand on the treadmill for five minutes each morning while enjoying her coffee and reading the paper. She doesn’t need to turn it on or push herself to work out. The goal was to cultivate the habit of honoring commitments, starting with the smallest action. And you know what? It worked! Slowly but surely, the client increased her treadmill usage until she was exercising three days a week.
Honoring Commitments and Avoiding Self-Deception
The underlying principle of these stories is clear: by committing to small, achievable actions consistently, we can create momentum and develop a habit of honoring our commitments to ourselves. This mindset prevents us from breaking promises and lying to ourselves. Whether in work, exercise, self-discipline, or any other aspect of life, honoring these commitments is vital for personal growth and success.
Quick Tips for Breaking the Bonds of Procrastination
So, if you find yourself trapped in the web of procrastination, here are a couple of quick tips to help you break free:
1. Embrace the minimum effective dose: Commit to taking at least one small action each day towards your goals. Remember, starting is often the hardest part. By making that first step easy and manageable, you can build momentum and overcome the inertia that keeps you stuck.
2. Cultivate manageable habits: Just like Wendy’s client began with five minutes of standing on the treadmill, find ways to incorporate small, achievable tasks into your daily routine. By consistently meeting these commitments, you develop a sense of self-discipline and gradually progress toward your desired outcome.
Embrace Small Steps for Big Results
Through my personal experience and the valuable insights shared by Wendy, I have witnessed the transformative power of the minimum effective dose. By implementing these strategies, you can break free from the cycle of procrastination and propel yourself toward increased productivity and success. Remember, it’s those small, consistent actions that create lasting change. So, start small, stay committed, and watch as your momentum carries you forward to achieve your goals. Trust me; you’ve got this!
P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your recruitment business:
1. Grab a free copy of my Retainer Blueprint
It’s the exact, step-by-step process of getting clients to give you money upfront. https://get.therecruiteru.com/retainer
2. Join the Recruiter Think Tank and connect with firm owners who are scaling too. It’s our Facebook community where smart recruiters learn to make more money and get more freedom. https://www.facebook.com/groups/there…
3. Join me at our next event
3x a year, I run a 3-day virtual intensive, sharing the 9 key areas that drive a 7-figure search firm. Click here to check out the dates of our upcoming event: https://get.therecruiteru.com/emerge
4. Work with me and my team privately
And if you ever want to get some 1:1 help, we can jump on the phone for a quick call and brainstorm how to get you more leads, more placements, and more time. https://get.therecruiteru.com/scale-now
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