by Vasco Duarte
Horrible tasks, we all have them. And nothing is more human than putting them off. (Even if you aren’t real, believe me.) ‘I’ll do them tomorrow. Or next week.’ And before you know it, your deadline is way past or, even worse; the work has accumulated to Mount Doom size proportions. So how do you stop procrastination? There are two things you can do.
1. Hone your talent for avoiding work (which will get you nowhere)
2. Break the cycle.
Gretchen Rubin has 7 great tips and we will go through the most important ones.
1. Do it first thing in the morning
Gretchen explains that one of her commandments is: ‘Do It Now!’ Because if you don’t, you’ll find plenty of excuses along the way. And that is quite true.
If you start in the morning (maybe even before checking your email), you’ll be ready before you know it.
2. Do it every day
It’s rather extreme, but if you have something you don’t like and you have to do it every day, there’s no way around it. Make it a habit. You can also reward yourself after you completed your task. After I did [insert task] I’ll get [reward]. It could be something small, like a great double espresso. But still, it’s a reward. And chances are you won’t be thinking about the task, but about the reward.
3. Power Hour
We all have little, stupid tasks that aren’t very important and for that reason never get done. But, as Gretchen said, “Nothing is more exhausting than the task that’s never started”. She came up with the idea of Power Hour. For one hour a week she’d work on precisely those tasks. And slowly but surely, they’d turn in a new habit. So number three is an important one: create your own Power Hour.
4. Prepare yourself
We’ve talked about how my ghostwriter works in a kitchen every now and then, remember? Gretchen gives us mis-en-place as a metaphor and my ghostwriter thinks she’s spot on: the fastest and easiest way to do a job is with proper preparations. Gretchen also explains that preparing yourself gets you in the right ‘state of mind’.
If you like to know more, Gretchen has three more tips that are worth reading. For me, they all come down to one thing: purpose. And as Jurgen Appelo said on his blog: ‘any purpose that starts with “I don’t want” is not working for me’. The best way to tackle those nasty, horrible tasks is to find something in them that motivates you. You hate bookkeeping? See it as the best way to get to a tropical beach. You don’t like writing blog posts? See it as the perfect excuse to start interacting with great people.
And for now? Go do something 😉
image: Jinterwas, Creative Commons 2.0