The JOT Method

Here’s how it works:

  1. Take a pen or pencil and turn to a blank page of a notebook.
  2. Write today’s date in the upper left-hand corner.
  3. Think of one simple task that you’ve been putting off. Write it down underneath the date.
  4. Do that task and only that task. Don’t write out a to-do list. It’s easy to let yourself get distracted by all of the other undone tasks you aren’t doing. Just do the one thing you wrote down.
  5. Once it’s done, draw a thin line through the task so that you can still read it, but you know it’s complete. Repeat steps 3-5.

The goal of J.O.T. isn’t to get more stuff done. Or even to get more of the “right” stuff done. Instead, the aim is to break the procrastination-paralysis loop right now by proving to yourself that you are, in fact, capable of following through and taking action.

diagram illustrating the vicious cycle of “feeling like shit” and “procrastination” and how to replace that with “just one small thing” into a virtuous cycle with “feeling better about ourselves”