In the last post, It’s National Procrastination Week, I mentioned I would “discuss what you might want to keep on hand to relieve the symptoms of perfectionism (aka fear)…” Nothing cuts perfectionism down to size more than a timer, so we start there.

If you have a smart phone, you have a timer. Use it. (If you don’t have easy access to a timer, try Online Stopwatch for starters. I’ll offer more suggestions in future posts).
Reach for your timer
1) whenever you’re at risk of perfectionism, and
2) when there’s a chance you’ll fart away your precious waking hours doing something that brings little or no joy to you or those you love or aim to serve.  Perfectionism, also known as fear, often looks like procrastination. If you have avoided an email to your adviser for a week and counting, grab your timer. If you are still looking at pictures of the old boyfriend’s new wife on facebook, get a grip and get your timer. 
Using a Timer for The Stinky Draft:
You are struggling to write an email; you have written and rewritten it 6 times. That, or you simply have avoided visiting your inbox altogether. Here’s what you want to do. Open an email to “yourself” then set your timer for a very short amount of time. I usually suggest 3-5 minutes to my clients. Now write a draft of the email to that person just as fast as you can. It can be sloppy as can be, just crank out the letter and hit send. Give it a little stew time by doing something else on your list or taking a break. A bit later, come back to the email, clean it up (also using a timer), get the right address on it and send that bad boy out. It works. Try it and let me how it works for you.You can do The Stinky Draft for any writing project you’re struggling with; this is not just for emails.
My next post on timers: “The 1 SureFire Way to Stop Mental Drift.