Procrastination comes down to pain avoidance. Somewhere in your subconscious, you have an idea of what most needs to be done next. You also have vivid notions about what pain may come with taking those next steps. When the anticipated pain from execution exceeds the expected pleasure from completion, you get procrastination. You know what you should do but also know, or think you know, how much doing so will hurt.

What happens when you write all of those factors out? Not just think through them but put them to paper? The next few steps, the risks, the rewards, the potential relief? We often discount the latter, despite its near certainty, while simultaneously trusting too much in our subconscious predictions for pain. Writing the actual factors out helps surface that uncertainty for more objective analysis.

But simply telling our subconscious that everything will probably be alright doesn’t do much to calm it down. Instead, it needs assurance. It has an easier time imagining the completion of smaller tasks without failure or pain. The more you break that looming project down, the more your subconscious will get onboard with the work. What can you do today to make headway? This hour? Right after reading this post? Why not go do that right now?