How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing

Photo by  Aaron Burden  on  Unsplash

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

You're stuck.

You have a presentation, article, or proposal to work on. But you've been procrastinating. Now the deadline pressure is mounting, making you feel overwhelmed and want to keep putting it off.

How can you give yourself that nudge you need to start writing...right now?

Try the 15-Minute Bargain.

The idea is that when we procrastinate, we allow the fear of failure to keep us from taking the first step. But the 15-Minute Bargain gives you a tool to motivate yourself to get started by committing to work for only 15 minutes, without thinking about how many hours the project will actually take.

The Bargain enables you to temporarily suppress your fear so that you can stop procrastinating and take the first step to start writing. And when you do, chances are, you'll discover you won’t want to stop.

At least, that's what often happens to me.

So, how exactly do you apply the 15-Minute Bargain? Follow these five steps:

Step 1: Get yourself to agree to work on the project for 15 minutes—and only 15 minutes—whether you feel like it or not.

Step 2: Think about a reward you’d enjoy by writing for 15 minutes. It could be reading a book, checking social media, getting a snack, or whatever you think will give you something to look forward to.

Step 3: Set a timer for 15 minutes. (I use an old-school egg timer because, for some reason, the ticking sound helps me focus on the task. Crazy, I know. I'm not sure if there is any science behind it—I just know it works for me.)

Step 4: Start work on the project with no distractions until the timer goes off.

Step 5: Decide whether to take a break, reward yourself, or keep going.


Give the 15-Minute Bargain a try and see if it can help you stop procrastinating and start writing to get more done, in less time...and with less stress.

Let me know what you think—and what anti-procrastination techniques you've tried that work well for you!

And if you like the Bargain, you might also want to try my Interval Training technique (see that can help you get "in the zone" and boost your writing productivity. 

Sean M. Lyden is CEO of Lyden Communications LLC, a Strategy and Storytelling consultancy that helps entrepreneurs tell their story in a way that grabs attention, garners trust, and grows their business. 


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