Research tells us that the majority of Americans today still do not have estate planning in place and only a third of parents have properly named legal guardians for their minor children. That’s problematic because life happens to all of us and gives none of us a heads up.

But our message this week is not about how important estate planning is to you and your family. You already know. A lack of planning or maintaining your planning isn’t a function of a lack of knowledge. It’s more about overcoming that hurdle of procrastination.

Procrastination is part of the human condition. It’s so easy to be tempted to put off hard tasks to another day and then rationalize it. We know because we’ve been there.

“I know what I need to do. I just can’t seem to make myself do it.” Do you know how many times we’ve said that about estate planning or any difficult project?

But a funny thing happened when we took that first step…we then took another…then another…and before too long the momentum swept us up and we completed a project that had been nagging at our hearts and minds for too long. And you know what? It wasn’t as bad as we had thought.

The roadblocks we had thrown up earlier, all turned out to be just convenient excuses. As my history teacher in high school often would say, “excuses serve only those that make them.”  Thank you, Mrs. Carney. I had a hard time understanding that back then. I know better now.

So what’s our secret formula to getting started?

“The 10-Minute Rule”

Yes, just 10 minutes. Getting started is usually the toughest part of any task because we dread something. Dread is one of the most difficult emotions to tolerate. So, the key to performing at your best and getting things done is to eliminate dread.

How you do that is to simply tell yourself, “I’m going to do this for ten minutes. Once I get to the 10-minute mark, I’ll decide whether to keep going.” I’ll bet once you hit 10 minutes you’ll decide to keep going long past it.

The other reason the 10-minute rule worked for us is that it helped drown out our exaggerated negative thoughts. When you don’t want to do something, it gets built up in your mind to be worse than it really is. Those thoughts influence behavior and cause you to keep procrastinating. However, the momentum the 10-Minute Rule brings silences those thoughts and encourages you to take just 10 more minutes and then ten more minutes. Once stop looking at the big picture, you can get going and see results on a micro-level. Then it doesn’t seem so hard or impossible. Pretty soon all those micro-success start to add up and you’ve completed your project!

So there you go…a roadmap to tackle your estate planning, taxes, working out, repairing that relationship, building that shed, or any of those other tasks that seem to have a permanent residency on your mental “To Do” list.

Be sure to take your first 10 minutes by giving us a call today. We’d love to help you move forward with your estate planning.

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Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an Orange County estate planning attorney and elder law attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He is all about family and passionate about educating his community about estate planning, elder law, and how to protect what matters most.

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