Everyone complains about procrastination, and everyone points to the same distractions—Facebook, email, chores, etc. Frequently, however, distractions can come in subtler forms.
Activities such as reflection or research start out as worthy endeavors, but often devolve into ways of deluding ourselves that we’re making progress. The important thing is to be mindful of when we’ve had “enough”. Actions without a discernable stopping point have a way of expanding into the time allotted to them (also known as Parkinson’s law). What’s more troublesome is the fact that these activities don’t require any commitment or responsibility from us. We can start and stop at will without it having any effect on the final outcome.
The key when engaging in these types of tasks is to create endpoints whenever you can, whether they be time constraints or specific goals that can be reached that allow you to move on to the next actionable phase of your project, a question you need to answer or any number of specific criteria will do.
The more you do this, the better you’ll get at it. You’ll develop a natural resistance to distraction in all its forms, and that in itself is a goal worth working towards.