Ten Ways to Change Your Behavior Immediately #9: Commit to One Minute

The hardest part of any task is getting started – or maybe even before getting started, while you’re still busy worrying about doing the task instead of getting it done!  Luckily inertia works in both directions: once you’re already underway with a project you realize it isn’t nearly as bad as you originally thought.  So the trick here is to overcome that activation cost, to get yourself started working at all.

Fortunately there is a very easy solution to this problem: commit yourself to working for one minute.  How bad could 60 seconds of work possibly be?  The great thing about a one minute commitment is that it is a one minute commitment – if you legitimately find the work you are doing to be that torturous, you have kept your commitment to yourself and you can stop and figure out something else to deal with the problem.  I have rarely seen people object to this level of commitment, but if that feels like too much you can choose an even shorter time period to fit your needs.

Once you have begun working, you will find that the task is rarely as bad as you anticipated.  In fact, you might even find it easier to continue working than to stop abruptly and switch to something else!  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like leaving anything unfinished, so I will persist until the task I am working on is complete.  After you master the art of starting, you can switch to a system like the Pomodoro Technique and commit yourself to working for 25 minutes or more!