There’s a Sleeping Giant That Resides Inside Each One of Us


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I’ve been “working” on a research article. This includes about 200 pages of research to read before I complete the article.

The truth is, I’ve been procrastinating.

For two weeks I’ve been been lugging this research around with me inside my car, rationalizing that lugging it around will spur me on to get through the reading.

This morning, finally, I got fed up and decided to commit to five minutes of reading. Nearly two hours later, I had most of the reading done and was even able to start writing my article.

As human beings, we have a tendency to overestimate the difficulty and time commitment of challenging tasks. As a result, we procrastinate.

I knew this from my research, yet despite my knowledge, I still procrastinated. Once I realized what was going on, I immediately leaned on one of my favorite anti-procrastination tools. I’ve come to refer to it as the Small Start Strategy.

This strategy really works in overcoming procrastination. It gives you permission to start small on any project, say five minutes, and then quit. The interesting thing is that every time I’ve used this strategy to get started on some project, I always go way beyond the five minutes.

Starting small is a powerful way to overcome procrastination. Why does it work?

It’s neurological. Once your prefrontal cortex gets going it’s hard to turn that engine off. Our brains, believe it or not, like challenging tasks. They like being used and especially like working on challenging projects.

So why do our brains fight us so, forcing us to procrastinate?

Well, our brains are also lazy. It’s like having a Jekyll and Hyde living inside your skull. Part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, loves to work while another part of the brain, the Basal Ganglia, is obsessed with conserving brain fuel, or keeping our brains from going to work.

So, these two brain areas are constantly in a tug of war, competing with one another to get their way.

The Small Start Strategy works because the Basal Ganglia is not threatened by five minutes of thinking – five minutes will not use up that much brain fuel. As a result, it does not fight us during those first five minutes.

But once we get started, the prefrontal cortex, like a sleeping giant who has been awakened, overpowers the Basal Ganglia and takes over. This “flow” will last until our willpower reserves begin to run dry. We have about 2-3 hours of willpower reserves.

So, start small on any project you have been procrastinating on. You will awaken the sleeping giant that resides inside each one of us, our prefrontal cortex, and soon you will find yourself happily working away, getting the project completed.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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    There’s a Sleeping Giant That Resides Inside Each One of
    Us – The latest addition to my weekly read!

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