10 Minute Challenge – Procrastination Killers

Why do we procrastinate? Experts say we do it to prevent feeling a certain amount of pain. Usually this doesn’t mean psychical pain, it can mean fear, shame, or vulnerability.

If you think about the tasks you avoid on a regular basis you will probably be able to link it back to one of the above feelings. More often then not its dreading these feelings that makes the situation worse. To help kill procrastination early I’ve put together this 10 minute challenge:

challenge copy

So this 10 Minute Challenge, what does it involve?

Its simple, you are just going to get super small and super specific about the task you have been avoiding. It can be a regular task you do all the time but always put off until the last minute (maybe paying bills, making that phone call, ironing…). And you’re only going to have to spend 10 minutes on this task.

When you set yourself a task or in many cases a huge list of tasks you set yourself up to procrastinate about the things you hate doing. If you create big lists like “I’m going to clean the entire house, pay all the bills, work a full 8 hour day, run the kids around, go to gym, cook a healthy dinner, and make that Doctors appointment today”.  You are creating the perfect environment for procrastination right there. That list is physically impossible to do alone, its too ambitious and its never going to happen.

Why? Because you will take one look at it and you’re just going to go “ok…where do I start?”.

*Insert confused, annoyed and ‘forget this, I’m going to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day off and eat cup cakes’  face here*

Instead of pulling faces and being overwhelmed about huge impossible lists, get specific. Really specific. 

This is where the 10 minute challenge starts.

Get out your list of to-dos. Now group them together under one heading, say one group is anything to do with work, another might be family, and another home maintenance, and then a Me category. Now you need to think about the result you are after for each of these groups. You might want to clean the entire house so that you can feel more organised. You might want to run your kids around so that they will be happy and so that they can do the things they enjoy. You want the bills to be paid so that you have water, power, and gas, so that you can live comfortably in your home. These are the results you are after for the tasks you have assigned yourself.

Now you need to look at the ‘why’, why do you want to do these tasks? What’s exciting about it? Why is it important to you? Family is important to you because they are the people you love and care about. You want them to be healthy and happy. Having a clean and organised home is very important to you, it is the environment you spend a large portion of your time and you want to feel safe and comfortable there. For each of your groups write out your ‘why’.

Using your ‘result’ and your ‘why’ look back over your to-dos and decide on which of these tasks will help you achieve your result. Lets use home maintenance as an example. Your list might look like this:

– Pay Bills
– Clean the entire house
– Tidy the garden
– Re-arrange wardrobe (give old items to charity)
– wash the floors

Which of these items will help you feel safe, comfortable, and organised? All of them, which is a good start. You will need an action plan to help you achieve these. Next to each of the tasks that you come up with in your action plan, make a note of how much time it will take to complete. Using that action list put a star next to the items that will give you the biggest result for the least amount of effort.

So your action plan would look a little like this:

– Pay Bills
– Collect copies of bills due* 5mins
– Call/pay bills online* 10 mins
– Make a note of receipt number and date paid 2 mins per bill
– File paid invoices 5 mins

– Clean the entire house
– Pick up items and put the into appropriate rooms 1.5 hours
– Wash the kitchen floors 45 mins
– Dust shelves and corners* 30mins

– Tidy the garden
– Weed the front path* 30mins
– Rake up leaves and branches 25mins
– Plant new bulbs along the path 1 hour


– Re-arrange wardrobe (give old items to charity)
– Turn all hangers to hang backwards (if items aren’t used in the next 6/12 months get rid of them). * 10 minutes
– Look at each item on hangers and decide what to keep
– Arrange items in order of style
See how much easier those tasks became? You can now make a start on that crazy list and in less then an hour and a half you will have your home looking much cleaner, organised, and your bills will be paid.

Don’t forget to get help with some of your tasks. Not all of the items laying around the house are yours, get some others to pick things up and put them away. Make sure to explain why things need to be picked up and put away, remind the other members of the house of your reasons for wanting things to be organised “Family is important to you because they are the people you love and care about. You want them to be healthy and happy. Having a clean and organised home is very important to you, it is the environment you spend a large portion of your time and you want to feel safe and comfortable there”. Tell them your ‘why’.

Are you seeing how you can get some great results for just 10 minutes worth of planning? In case you need another example of how to break things down, here is another example:

* this one is great for the kids if they have trouble with homework or studying (is there ever an end with studying?!?), this will help them break it down and not feel overwhelmed.

For instance, let’s say you need to do a science project involving photosynthesis as well as studying a bit of history.

Here’s what you’ll want to set as your goals, to complete within 10 minutes:

1. Sit at your desk/work space
2. Pick up a pen
3. Choose a textbook
4. Put a timer on your phone for 5 minutes
5. Read the project outline
6. Make some notes on photosynthesis (1 page min)
7. Read 3 pages of notes from history

Yes this list is majorly obvious, but you might be surprised at what a difference these instructions can make, as opposed to setting out to complete a massive goal such as ‘do your entire science project tonight’ or ‘read your history text book by monday’.

Think of it this way, if I told you “go and do your science project” OR “go and sit at your desk”, which one are you more likely to be resistant to?

The huge never ending science project right?

By comparison that first little step is so small and easy it seems silly not to do it. Having a list of easy – and achievable – steps will make it much more likely for you to get things done.  And finishing one easy step leads you to the next, and the next. Before you know it you’ve done tonight’s work and you can do something else.
So use the next 10 minutes to break down your goal so you can cross some items off that list. Have fun!


About Kathryn

Hello and welcome to the Brick Road Creative Studios blog! My name is Kathryn, feel free to take a look around. I hope you find some helpful and inspiring bits and pieces here.
This entry was posted in Organising and Cleaning, Self Improvement, Time Savers and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 10 Minute Challenge – Procrastination Killers

  1. Pingback: Back to School Study Tips – how to be more productive in 2015 | Brick Road Creative Studios

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