Why Do We Procrastinate on The Big Projects?
Having been a long time GTD (w/ OmniFocus) ((7 years now)) user I see that i've not only become very well at getting things done, but i've always throughout this time have learned how to procrastinate abhorrently at the behest of my most important projects. I, like you as sure, have had projects that have gone untouched for week, months and yes, even a year at a time.
I'm sure fear of failure plays into this, but also more subtly perhaps fear of success. I'm not too sure and rather than immediately delving my own personal opinions on the matter I would love to hear your personal input regarding this matter.
For those interested, i've gone ahead and posted the same thread over at the OmniFocus forum to hear relating responses; all in good, proactive and productive nature. Thanks!
the power of the next action
When I think about it I work backwards to look at how I try and overcome procrastination.
When I strike procrastination on my larger projects, I get very very granular in my next action. For example one of my current projects is drafting a policy discussion/consultation document on an area of my work. Having had "draft options section" on my next actions list for a couple of weeks and just never getting to it, I changed the next action to - draft paragraph on the criteria [Japan] uses when [dealing with similar issues]". I did this action within 24 hours of renaming it (and so was able to check that next action off as "done")
So I think the reason I procrastinate on big projects is that working on them doesn't give me the satisfaction of getting something "done".
chunks + big picture (push vs flow)
Yes, I agree micro chunking is a great trick.
Who has a cat knows they won't try to jump something they don't believe they can. Our brain doesn't also.
So a BIG THESIS might not get you to jump, but half a page might. Each big travel starts with a first step, and one step at a time can get you far.
On the other side, you will want some FLOW on the work. You will not want to make a big thing out of each single step all the way. Somewhere along the way, you want some sort of FLOW to happen. Then, putting a foot after the other stops being the focus point (even if that was need in the beginning), and now you are just walking towards your destination almost effortlessly, and enjoying the view and the ride itself, as much as you are thrilled about the idea of arriving to your destination.
I believe that flow is easier to get, if you can see yourself after the Big Thing is done. David says "You won't be able to do it until you see yourself doing it", and I would add the question: "Can you picture you life after you have accomplished that? Can you really visualize it, even in the small things? How is it? What is your routine? How does it feel?" - and if you dive into that picture over and over again, until it's part of your thinking, and becomes so normal, that's when you find space for the flow, and each step starts to feel just the normal think to happen, and not a battle against inner resistance. That's when real magic happens...
Gonšalo Gil Mata