How To Complete A Task [FREE Cheat Sheet]

 

Stuck with that despicable pending to-do? Here's a definitive step-by-step guide on how to complete a task!

You desperately need to complete that important task hammering your mind. 

Done or undone, it HAS to go away from your life or it’ll suck out all your blood.

You shoo away the guilt.

Eh!

Still there.

Even if it leaves, it goes away with a permanent blow to your integrity – your subconscious takes note that it’s ok to break commitments to self.

Kaboom!!!

And you also end up seeming shifty  – the vibes go far and wide.

The good news is, (if you’re still reading this and you’re not my cousin or BFF, then it means) you have already taken the first step to beat this.

You have started looking for a way out! That’s why you’re here, my friend.

So…

How about considering DONE?

It’s an acronym that I created, to get me started with the most dreaded task of my life. Simple and easy.

Things Needed*

  1. The best of you
  2. 2 magic wands attached on the left and right of your upper torso! (your arms!)
  3. Paper & Pen
  4. Clock/Phone/Alarm anything where you can track progress w.r.t. time

*You should ONLY read further if you HAVE all four above given checked. (and not just any three or two, not exceptions!)

So, Here’s what each alphabet from the acronym DONE stands for:

D: DECIDE

Hate It

Voice your bad feelings for the task. How terrible it has made you feel all this time. You need to pour your heart out in order to move ahead. Curse it like I do- bring out all your sensor-ed vocabulary. Borrow some more. You can backstab it with a friend. Or just pick up an object and imagine it’s your task. Feel any better? You’re ready, my friend!

Nail It

Now, write down your well-cursed to-do. Don’t be lazy. No hypothetical writing. Do it on a page. Seriously.

It has to be only one thing at a time. You may be pressed by a lot of pending important tasks, but for now, just write down the one most similar to your kitchen pressure cooker.

Research says written tasks have 40% more chances of getting done. Also, writing will help stop the constant ringing in your head (and prevent the task from seeming to appear in the middle of your plate or on people’s forehead as you go about with the rest of your day. If you know what I mean! *winks*).

Rip It

You need to scrutinize here. Or a ruthless biopsy. Answer the following questions in sequence:

a) Give it up? Can you? You only want to stop here when you have visualized the consequences and they aren’t that big at the end of the day. If no, then move to the next question.

b) Outsource it? You want to choose this option when you have some money to spare, at least $5, and a heart to compromise the quality (check Fiverr). If no, then move to the next.

c) Delegate it? Think of anyone who can help for free and is trustworthy and competent enough to be able to deliver even 50% of the job. (You can quickly cover up for the lacks)

Don’t shy away from asking for help. Dare to outreach. You’ll surely find some help. Especially if you can settle on a barter. *winks again*

And, if not, then move to the next.

d) Chop it into choke-proof smallest possible pieces: This means you break down your task into as small as it could go. I hated my thesis writing like hate hate hate. I started off by convincing myself to give it ONLY 15 min. daily. I told myself, just commit for this much time, and if you’re not comfortable, you can quit after 15 min.

Using this technique, I almost always end up keeping my rear glued to the seat more than that!

Nip It

Nip this evil from two sides.

a) Know thy enemy: What are the main resistors (time? focus? emotional blocks etc). What’s the possible remedial for each?

b) Look for the friends-in-need: What are the motivators (result, peace and happiness, authority, etc). Write each down in a big and ugly font and put it around you in different places where you’ll get to see it a lot.

O: OPTIMIZE

Chin up!

wolf pup!!

Now if you’ve fairly convinced yourself to bleep some bleep. Let’s hunt it down.

a) Commit to ’em other felines: Get yourself into a deadline commitment with someone (your teacher, your boss, your spouse e.t.c) whom you just can’t disappoint. It’s like there’s a gun on your head now, which will force you to work.

The trick is, do it quickly before you have more time to disaster-proof this commitment. Narrow down the promise. Tell them you’ll be done by X date. Commit further, that you’ll bear Y consequences if you don’t. The more sensitive your relation, the more chances of doing your work guaranteed!

Now you’re stuck, yo!

b) Guise: Pretend your success. Like you’re already a pro at what you’re set off to do. If you start with a mind overflowing with doubts, you’ll end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy unto yourself. Fake it till you make it!

Yea?

Now we’re talkin’!

c) Mark the territory: Has it ever happened that you’re doing your work and all of a sudden you realize how peacefully and resistance free you feel? Well, that’s because you’ve hit your magic time. Everyone has some special hours of the day when their performance is at the peak, compared to the rest of the day. For me, like most people, it’s the earliest hours of the day. So just block that time, as in,

BLOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!

…for nothing else but your important task. No sleep, no babies, no guests, not even prayers, just your important task! You might have to seek some help or give up on some sleep time during your magic hours. That’s ok. You have to, it’s only a few hours. And you’ll have the rest of the day for the other stuff anyways, so be firm here.

c) Crouch: Gather strength and motivation from everywhere. Seek all aid you can get. Write your target on the desktop wallpaper, on the room door, in the bathroom, as a fake tattoo on your belly or whatever! Tell people around you to help you be done with this by reminding (also implies dun bug me!)Just do what it takes to keep you all concentrated and focused on that one thing during your magic time.

d) Pounce! Go. Go. Go.

Attack your task like the fearless wild feline that you are. Start off with the bit of your task where the win is guaranteed. Before starting, though, you ought to have divided it into small (attack-able!) pieces.

Simply put, divide your task into easily do-able bits where the piece is so tiny you can’t fail. Then start with the easiest win.

N: NOTE

a) Look for ’em golden eggs: You need to keep track of your progress. Make it in written. Like the guy from Getting Things Done says, your mind is for cooking processing, don’t use it for storage. Make it in a graph form, where time is the vertical line (independent) and your progress is the horizontal line. (dependent)

b) Note, and make peace with, the regular eggs too: As you maintain the graph, be sure to mark each day’s progression as well as regression.

Also, learn to compromise with second best or good-enough options as long as you’re getting closer to your deadline. It’s better to do something than absolutely nothing at all.

b) Feeding the hen’s part of the job!: Follow Buddha’s advice and eat well to keep your mind functioning. I make special efforts during my tough days to take healthy, power boosting foods, hearty breakfasts!

Fuel yourself for an instant power supply with fruit juice, smoothies or simply three dates plus a hot (‘course not blazing!) glass of milk. I also snack on dried fruit, nuts or energy balls on the go. 

d) Help yo’self to an egg tester: Grab some (free) tools:

  • Mapping task:  TrelloEvernote, post-it notes, whiteboard, good ol’ pen and paper
  • Delegating: Fiverr or Upwork 
  • Eliminating distractions: airplane mode of your phone, do-not-disturb mode of your iPhone, Self-Control the website and self-control the you-know-what!
  • Tracking productivity: RescueTime, Toggl, your handmade graph as mentioned above.

Keep in mind one thing- don’t get into the thick of thin things. Tools and sites are there to help you, not to become another task in themselves.

Use or check them infrequently, one-time online productivity track about how much you spent doing X work should suffice you through the entire week. Whatever else you note daily e.g. info on the graph, don’t let it take more than 5 min. Who cares how ugly it looks!

E: ENGAGE WITH YOUR RESULTS

I urge you to use the carrot and stick method here. When you make substantial progress after a set unit of time, reward yourself. (Please don’t slack off here.) On the other hand, punish yourself for not completing each task chunk within its time frame.

Make note, that the punishment should be a step in itself to up your game. What I mean is, a smack on your own face won’t do you as good as doubling your task in punishment would. See what I mean?

LET’S GET GOING!

You see, there’s no shortcut. You HAVE to DO IT in order to be done with it. The biggest strength it will require of you will be in the beginning. Once you start, it’ll get easier by the days.

Permit all your metaphorical and physical muscles to break before they can rebuild any stronger. There’s just no other formula. This one is well worth the effort for the peace and integrity buildup it results in. Just keep making (tiny as you like) progress each day.

Even if you have to fail, don’t let it be for the lack of trying. And I’m sure by overcoming your emotional inertia as you go and by building momentum you’ll hit your target soon.

Take a quick recap with the cheat sheet.

Now, delay no further…

Pop into the comments and commit to me as you start, and we’ll celebrate when you’re done! 

 

How These 10 Habits Keep You Stressed and Make You Extremely Annoying

 

10 habits that make you stressed and you end up being annoying

You are anxious, irritable, low, confused, entangled, or/and extremely pressured…. as rigorously as you’re trying to establish a balance, you feel literally bogged down, every bad thing around you has amplified!

YOU ARE STRESSED!

Don’t worry, though; it’s almost universal. Stats say every 3 out of 4 doctor visits are for stress-related ailments and stress is the basic cause of 60% of all human illness and disease.

So, none of us can claim to not know worry. Neither is it all-bad-and-no-good. Our left brain hemisphere worries to keep us safe. But then, on the flip side, life NEVER seems to pacify or calm down.

Well, why would it?

When what we’re doing is essentially more of ‘stressing faster’.

HOW do you stress-relieve then???

Good question! Because you really can’t. Especially using all your ROUTINE patterns.

You might even think you’ll find some good tips here that’ll reduce your stress.

You won’t.

Because it’s sometimes the things we need to STOP DOING that make the rest fall into place.

The key is not to always remain stressed. Else, you’re gonna lose a lot of friends. I know, ‘coz I have!

STRESS RELIEF: THE BIG TEN HINDERERS

Here are ten reasons which ALWAYS do and ALWAYS will result into STRESS. 

Are you guilty of any of the following?

1. YOU’RE NOT PREVENTIVE

Instead of making conscientious efforts to prevent issues (health, finance, relations etc related) from happening in the first place, you lazily live off of the bare necessary effort needed to be put in. You only get into your super-sonic mode when the problem befalls your head!

Action Plan:

  1. Pronounce in detail what you want (to prevent, which you’re are vulnerable to e.g. if high blood pressure runs in your family).
  2. Plan your preventive measure such that you can learn about and provide for the resources required, well before time.
  3. Schedule your prevention based on:
    1.  time (e.g. start yoga/cardio 10 min daily)
    2. usage. (e.g. low sodium diet)
  4. Document, monitor and review the measures regularly

Remember!

  • Prevention IS better than cure because it is cost effective… especially when something has no cure!
  • Nip the evil in the bud, that’s minimalism.
  • Prevention is not a step or to-do, it is a process. Embed it into your routine likewise.

    Suggested

  • 7 Habits – Read Habit 1 about Being Proactive
  • This post I wrote about making time to read – first half has great tips for making time in general.

2. YOU AGONIZE INSTEAD OF ORGANIZE

If your surroundings look like a disaster, I promise you will feel like a disaster too. You’ve done enough to provide yourself a steady dose of stress.

End of the post for you!

Unless you want the…

Action Plan

  1. Set aside 15 min daily for decluttering
  2. Purge your surrounding of clutter one small corner/item per day
  3. Live minimalist style – Don’t bring into your house anything unless you have no alternative.

Remember!

  • A tidy room is a tidy mind. Don’t let people see how messed up you’re on the inside! **mean laugh: bwahaha** 
  • You never know what you have, until… you clean your room!

    Suggested

  • Check Getting Things Done

Being stressed is inversely proportional to how well you organize your stuff!

3. YOU’RE A BLACKBELT IN DISINTEGRITY – DROPPING ENTIRE GOALS WITH A DRINK!

You are so loose and ill-disciplined in your ways that you only set goals whenever your motivation somehow skyrockets, and most often don’t follow through your plans to achieve your target.

Action Plan

  1. Set a goal
  2. Track progress visually (write!)
  3. Partner up for accountability

Remember!

  • You’ll never always remain motivated, you will need discipline (just enough) to finish a task.
  • The more you’ll fulfill the commitments made to yourself, the more at peace and stronger you’ll be.

    Suggested

4. YOU DON’T PLAN IN WRITING

It’s magical!You could be super cool enough to do all the algebra or planning in your mind but the TRUE clarity, direction, solution and big picture as seen using a pen is unbeatable. You bet!

Action Plan

  1. Clear focus
  2. Be as specific as possible about what you want to get done
  3. Chunk up your plan into gradual steps that’ll lead you there
  4. Schedule each chunk
  5. Go one step at a time

Remember!

  • Reverse engineering from goal, down to right now’s to-do works
  • If Plan A fails, you’re still left with 25 alphabets!

    Suggested Reading

5. YOU’RE NOT USING YOUR MINUTES WISELY

You are guilty of procrastinating, and pending work till you find ‘that perfect long hour’ when you’ll finish your chore but trust me, there’s no better time than NOW. And ‘Tomorrow never dies!’ If you’re not wise enough to break your tasks into bite-size chunks each of which takes minutes, instead of hours to complete, then you, my friend ought to join point # 2 folks. Unless you also need the…

Action Plan

  1. Chunk up your task into smallest timed pieces (5 min?)
  2. Start now with chunk 1
  3. Keep focus on chunk 1 only
  4. Complete and move on to the next
  5. Repeat…till done!

Remember!

  • The Secret to getting ahead is getting started now
  • Don’t wait! The time will never be just right. Napolean Hill

And…

6. YOU’RE FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE – THE FIRE DEPARTMENT USES WATER!

Mistakes are inevitable. But you’re mishandling your mistakes in two ways, by (a) repeating them (b) not learning from gurus about mistake prevention/reductions.

Action Plan

  1. Step back and take note of which action of yours is constantly resulting in frustration- it’s most probably a mistake
  2. Change your course of action temporarily by a/b testing
  3. Stick to what eliminates or at best reduces your frustration
  4. Look up what gurus do

Remember!

  • To err is human, but to repeat the same one twice is a sin!
  • Don’t make the same mistake twice, there’re so many new ones to make!

Suggested

Just watch this, pal:

7. YOU’RE NOT SIDESTEPPING NEGATIVE ENERGY:

You have to consciously stay away from anything that wastes your energy or at best brings your efforts to zero sum value. 

Action Plan

  • Train your mind to think positively
  • Be creative enough to find the good in everything
  • If there isn’t any, be super creative and make it serve you somehow

Remember!

  • Cancel your subscription to other people’s issues.
  • Hide from negative people. Doesn’t mean you hate them. It just means you love yourself.

    Suggested

    E-Squared

    Eliminate negative thoughts and people from your personal bubble, you'll stress less!

8. YOU’RE NOT ADOPTING THE ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

You don’t have the glass half full approach and you dwell upon what it is in life that you don’t have instead of showing thankfulness for what’s there and for using it effectively.

Action Plan

  1. Note at least one blessing down for today (Don’t say you can’t think of any… I’m sure you’re breathing just fine!)
  2. Focus entirely on this one good thing/blessing
  3. Perform gratitude. Don’t just be thankful in thought or words. Do something practically to demonstrate you’re consciously enjoying it. e.g. Go out and breathe deep. 

Remember!

  • Performing Gratitude ( see # 3) is the quickest stress remedy
  • Gratitude is the sign of NOBLE souls. Aesop

    Suggested

9. YOU’RE NOT EATING YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS:

Ain’t no Anthelme Brillat-Savarin comin’ to tell ya’, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.”

Action Plan

Eat/Drink at least 4 of the following stress busters each day:

  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Cold Water Fish
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Eggs
  • Green Tea
  • Honey
  • Kiwi
  • Nuts and Seeds 
  • Oatmeal
  • Spinach
  • Vegetable Soups
  • Warm Milk

Remember!

  • Quit the See-Food (-and-eat-it)Diet!
  • Fast-Food is a misspell with an ‘s’!
  • 7 Days without fruits and Veggies makes One Weak!
  • Your food is either feeding or fighting disease.

    Suggested Reading

    •  Your grocery list – for a health related audit!

10. YOU’RE NOT EXERCISING:

Do something rigorous (even 20 jumping jacks where ever you are right now) or physically challenging (beginner’s yoga) only for 10 min today and feel the difference. A ten min. investment won’t cost you a dime but the practice will surely teach you way beyond all the pins on Pinterest would. You can’t be THAT dumb to not even try something AND consider it ineffective!

Suggested Reading

IT’S TIME TO STOP SABOTAGING YOUR PEACE

Let’s be honest, a lot of the stress in our life is manageable.
But it’s one thing to be knowledgeable and an altogether different thing to apply it to our lives and I think THIS is the core difference between losers and winners. 

Knowledge not put to practice stagnates over time and creates a rotten stressful feeling inside too. 

Also, if implementation is the key, then building momentum is the door. Natural success manifests itself when we are resilient in the face of challenges and stay glued to what we believe is right for us.
I’m guilty of some myself but I constantly remind myself to stay aware of my choices and their consequences.
To help you a bit further I’ve created a checklist for you. Go on, download it, use it for three days at least. I’m sure you’ll feel stress relief pouring in as you check off each to-do.

Suggested

  • This extremely mind/life changing TED talk about how your body language shapes who you are, will most definitely empower you in the face of stress.
  • This detailed article about symptoms, causes, and effects of stress will increase your awareness of what it is you’re basically going through.

How to Make Time to Read

 

A complete guide on how to make time to read.

Now, where did THIS come from when there’s already so much to do?

…So much, that our mental peace and general wellness is at stake, all in the name of achievement…

Interestingly, though, an investigation into the therapeutic benefits of reading conducted by Liverpool University in collaboration with ‘The Reader Organization’ has shown a direct relation between reading and the treatment of stress/depression as well as general well-being.

But then, you can only make time for something this important (i.e. read) when you have most of your day in your control.

I have been struggling with my reading habit lately too but I know making time to read a quality book ALWAYS reduces the distance between my current and ideal self.

Set off for your ultimate goal. Reading will help you like your guide. Learn how to make time to read here.

So,

here are a plan and persuasion points I have whipped up to help you and myself conscientiously commit to making time to read.

If you’re short on time, then grab your cheat-sheet printable here.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN TO MAKE TIME TO READ

You CAN NOT have a smooth sailing reading schedule when the rest of your days are a tempest. You’ve got to change how you use time overall a bit and I assure you, not only will you find more time to read, you feel more disciplined, at peace and purposeful.

So, let’s dive in!

1. STEP BACK TO STEP UP

You only have so much time in a day. People’s life productivity varies depending on how wisely they use this time (or not!). To use your time productively: (a) make a WRITTEN PLAN and (b) then stick to it!

Use This Time Management Matrix

Do look into the details of Dr. Covey’s time management matrix. It’s extremely useful. See where you spend most of your time.

The matrix looks something like this:

Learn how to make time to read by using Dr. Covery's ultimate time management matrix.

You mostly want to be in the important/ not urgent quadrant to reap highest results.

Also, have you experienced how a written plan brings more clarity than the one in our mind?

You can’t keep adding things into your day and expect that somehow a particular mindset or hack will get you through. Use the next tip.

Use Time Budgeting

It’s essentially that: before you can spare some time, (like money) you need to know how much you have and then assign it to your priorities accordingly.

Beyond a general awareness of where you’re spending your time, I urge you to get a VISUAL picture of your IDEAL 24 HOURS too by maintaining a TIME BUDGET SHEET I prepared for you.

2. REDUCE RESISTANCE WITH ROUTINES

Much energy is wasted trying to convince ourselves to get going with the next thing in mind. Once you establish a routine for your days, you’ll see an increase in your speed and productivity. But I tell you, there’s no looking at this realm from the outside. You’ll only know the magic once you get into a routine.

Don’t get all robotic though!

Begin by setting a routine for your BIG tasks. A S.A.H.M could even simply start with routine-izing (meh! #ruthless neology):

  • Sleep and Wake up times
  • Meals
  • Laundry and Dishes
  • Child’s Play (not the horror movie!)

3. MONO- ANDDDD MULTITASK

While mono-tasking takes the lead (google for the how!), it’s not all bad to be multitasking smaller tasks to save time when quality isn’t your major concern or when your hands have gotten mechanical enough to take care of the job alone without engaging much of your mind actively. I’d rather listen to an important audio while doing the dishes or vacuuming than not being able to listen at all.

Two birds one stone!!

4. LEARN BABY LEARN!

TO…

  • Say no to unnecessary: Don’t end up being the poor mule who couldn’t please EVERYONE. Nobody can!
  • Give up what costs you your higher priorities
  • Delegate and Outsource where possible/affordable: don’t make your life a one man show! Trust and teach others where you can.
  • Do less: When I got married, I’d spend half a day checking recipes when the cooking itself took 1/4th the time. As I upped my game, I cut down to whatever I could find within 1 hour for that perfect today’s special (still a lot I know!).

(Note: I have been wise enough to take the time to make a list of 30 (almost) recipes that I can or should cook. Some months I have tried to follow the list as is, other times I just pick a quick suggestion when the mood or occasion calls for something specific.)

5. SPEED UP

Tidy up that house like your guest is almost there (sans the stress of course)!

Alternatively, you can set a timer for the task you want to finish and get going like super sonic. I read somewhere that your task will stretch to whatever time you allot it. So keep it short!

6. UTILIZE SMALL TIME CHUNKS

What can you do in 5 minutes while the tea steeps? Don’t be staring at the tea bag and watch osmosis happening. You can put one kitchen cabinet into order in the mean time.

Use small time chunks wisely if you wish to make time to read

7. COMPLETE TASKS ZONE SPECIFICALLY

Check all e-mails once. Corral outdoor errands into one trip. Complete all kitchen tasks once instead of moving to and fro. I clean one room completely before I move to the text. That way I’m relieved to think that one entire unit of the task is covered and only blah and blah are left.

WHEN YOU BEGIN TO MAKE TIME TO READ

1. SET YOUR PERMANENT, PHYSICAL, READING NOOK

Customize it to your taste and comfort. Then develop a habit of reading only there and nowhere else. Over time, you’ll see how it adds to building your reading momentum.

2. EXTERMINATE DISTRACTIONS

In your reading circle don’t allow the physical presence of cell phones, people or any other distraction of the sort. Also take better control of your mind and shush any noise. I’m increasingly trying to be aware of a habit of drifting away into my teaching world as I read something useful, about how I’ll share it with my students or others. Don’t do that because you want to make the most of your reading time. No intellectual multi-tasking!

3. READ WHAT UPS YOUR GAME

Don’t be reading Hamlet when you’re already confused about something. As I was setting up my blog, I’d come across many ‘useful’ freebies which I wanted to subscribe to get, but I constantly focused myself on reading material only relevant to my current stage.

Once you've learned how to make time to read, use it to up your life game.

4. SET DEADLINE AND REVERSE ENGINEER DOWN TO YOUR DAILY CHUNK O’ READING

You will be more likely to stick to a routine AND finish a useful book when a deadline is pressing you. If you plan to read one book per month as a starter, you need to divide your 300 pages into 30 days. Just focus on managing to read 10 pages each day.

5. GO BIG THE FIRST DAY

Overcome the inertia by reading as much as you can on the first day. At least one whole chapter! This way you’ll have enough interest developed to make the book stick to your brain.

6. ONWARD, GO SMALL BUT STEADY

Next, you can do one of the two:

  • set a specific small amount of time (even 15 min. to start with) for reading each day.
  • set a specific small number of book pages (5 to 10) to read each day.

The time required for any of these two options is so small, you can easily squeeze it out from one or more of the suggestions below.

Activities to Squeeze 15 min From:

  • TV
  • idle phone calls/ message conversations
  • procrastination
  • slow speed chores (by mindfully speeding them up)
  • social media

Remember, there are 1440 minutes in a day, taking out 15 or so for reading still leaves you with 1425 minutes…

Barely noticeable!

7. RITUAL-IZE READING

Perform your reading activity like it’s a ritual. As in:

  • same time daily e.g. 7:00 am to 7:15 am daily
  • same spot i.e. #1

Important: Keep your absolute focus on today’s task only. Just think about today’s 5-10 pages you have to cover.

8. PARTNER UP!

The activities I succeed most with are the ones where I have found an accountability partner. If you know someone who’s struggling with reading, then you’re lucky. Hook up with that person and share your X days’ progress report. It doesn’t have to be a regular long conversation, when I start something like this with a friend, we set the rules beforehand that we’d only use…

“15 min. done today”

… phrase to report (instead of starting off a long conversation). If we don’t receive this message for, say, three consecutive days, the next time the doer reports is like this,

“15 min. done today, waiting for you!”

Swear this strategy over-delivers!

Until you find your accountability partner, partner up with me and just report here in the comment section below. I’ll be there for you.

That’s all my friends.

I guarantee that if you follow the above advice, you’ll surely manage to make time to read. I’m doing it.

If you invest in making time to read, you'll up your game significantly.

I’ve summarized all the goodness into the printable cheat sheet below so you can put it up in your reading corner as you continue to make time to read.

SOOOO….

WHO’S IN WITH ME????