Your first thought as you look at this article will be, "I'll read this later." But don't. Let the urge to switch to a new task pass. Read this now. It'll take you two minutes. It'll save you countless hours.
I've written the book on ending procrastination, but I've since come up with a very simple technique for beating everyone's nemesis. It is incredibly easy, but as with anything, it takes a little practice.
Try it now:
Identify the most important thing you have to do today.
Decide to do just the first little part of it --- just the first minute, or even 30 seconds of it.
Getting started is the only thing in the world that matters.
Clear away distractions. Turn everything off. Close all programs. There should just be you, and your task.
Sit there, and focus on getting started. Not doing the whole tasks, just starting.
Pay attention to your mind, as it starts to have urges to switch to another task. You will have urges to check email or Facebook or Twitter or your favorite website. You will want to play a game or make a call or do another task. Notice these urges. Let each one pass.
Notice also your mind trying to justify not doing the task. Also let these self-rationalizing thoughts pass.
Now just take one small action to get started. As tiny a step as possible.
Get started, and the rest will flow.
* Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It's about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what's important, create something amazing, find happiness.
It also happens to be one of the Top 25 blogs and Top 50 websites in the world, with about 225,000 readers, and is uncoprighted. Zen Habits features one or two powerful articles a week on: simplicity, health & fitness, motivation and inspiration, frugality, family life, happiness, goals, getting great things done, and living in the moment.
Leo Babauta is the creator and writer of Zen Habits and lives in San Francisco with his wife and six children.