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Do you keep postponing work you need to do? The problem probably stems from one of three things: your habits and systems (or lack thereof), your desire to avoid negative emotions (like anxiety and boredom), or your own flawed thinking patterns (which can make a task seem harder than it is). Luckily, there are simple strategies for managing each.

To develop good habits, for instance, do your important work in a consistent pattern daily: After I do this, I do my deep work. Devise a system for starting new tasks (drawing on one you’ve handled well); that will make it easier to get the ball rolling. When a task makes you anxious, do the easiest part first and progress from there; motivate yourself to do a boring task with a reward for completing it. And if you’re cognitively blocked, consider what would make a task impossible—and then identify its opposite.

Novel work often is filled with friction. You must recognize that tension doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. And if a project still feels overwhelming, tackle it in small chunks of time, not big ones.