How To Complete Tasks You Have Been Avoiding

Ever have a task you know you should do, but for one reason or another you just don’t want to do it? It’s on your list every week, or maybe every day, but it just doesn’t get done! Perhaps it’s something that doesn’t directly affect your business. So, you can avoid it because it’s a low priority. But, in the back of your mind, you know that it’s just going to be more work later.

Well, I had a task like that last weekend. I had put it off for over a month. So, now it wasn’t going to be a fairly quick half hour or 15 minute thing. It was going to take a couple of hours. I had made the decision¬†to complete it and I was actually almost looking forward to it.

So, why the change in mood on Saturday from every other time I put it on my list and then avoided it? Well, it was a combination of things.

  1. A couple friends and I have accounts set up on irunurun.com. You set up the habits that you want to create and you’re givenpoints each time you complete a task. If you do everything on your list, you get all 100 points. You can add people as teammates and encourage each other or compete.This task was one of my items for the week. I already had decided that I wasn’t going to finish a couple of items and if I didn’t do this task my “score” would be in the 70’s. Completing it brought it to the mid 80’s. Being in the 70’s was unacceptable to me. So, that was a bit of motivation right there.
  2. I slept in on Saturday, had a nice breakfast and somehow lost an hour watching TV or something. Basically, I had a relaxing and unhurried morning.
  3. I started a session of one of my favorite TV shows in the background to listen/watch as I worked on my task. The task didn’t require a lot of in depth thinking, so this worked really well. The other benefit was I would watch a couple minutes of a favorite episode and then get back to what I was working on instead of losing an hour surfing the internet or some other distraction.

This task is still on my weekly list. Doing it weekly will only take 10-15 minutes, instead of the couple of hours it takes when I put it off.

Do you have a task that you’ve put off or are avoiding? Maybe it’s like mine and will take much longer now because it’s been ignored for so long. Below is the core of the things I did above:

  1. Find someone or something to be accountable too. Whether that’s a friend or online software that “grades” you. Whatever it is for you, it should motivate and also support you.
  2. Take care of yourself. When you’re well rested and have spent some time taking care of yourself, your mind will work a bit better. Think about it, do you work better when you’re tired and want a nap or when you’re well rested?
  3. Do something to make the activity more enjoyable. In my case, I had one of my favorite TV shows playing in the background. I’ve seen each episode a few times, so I didn’t feel the need to give it my undivided attention.

What do you do to encourage yourself to do a task you’ve been putting off?

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