Run a Dash to Beat Procrastination

December 2011

in Self-mastery

Post image for Run a Dash to Beat Procrastination

Here is a great anti-procrastination trick that I use very successfully—as long as I’m aware enough to implement it in the first place.

I found this on 43Folders from Merlin Mann. The idea is to commit to a dash of work, say 10 minutes only. This is easier to commit to than thinking, “Man, I need to work on this for several hours at least.

What happens is that after you’ve started, it’s often much easier to just keep going. In Mann’s words:

My favorite tonic for procrastination—which I have mentioned in passing previously—is what I call a dash, which is simply a short burst of focused activity during which you force yourself to do nothing but work on the procrastinated item for a very short period of time—perhaps as little as just one minute. By breaking a few tiny pebbles off of your perceived monolith, you end up psyching yourself out of your stupor, as well as making much-needed progress on your overdue project. Neat, huh?

I think the key here is that you have to be ready to stop after your set commitment.

If you ‘know’ the whole time that this is just a ‘trick’ to get yourself started, it won’t work. You’ll never get the benefits of the ease of committing to only x minutes if you’re not actually planning on stopping.

Implementation Tools

I just use the basic clock that comes with my iPhone to do this.

There are also fancier ways, such as:

Has anyone else tried this? Does it work for you?

Read the full post here: Kick procrastination’s ass: Run a dash on


Header image by casey.marshall.