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.
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.
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.
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.
- The best of you
- 2 magic wands attached on the left and right of your upper torso! (your arms!)
- Paper & Pen
- 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:
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!
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*).
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 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.
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!
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,
…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.
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:
- Easer/Automator: Any tool that eases your task. E.g for a student Grammarly, Hemingway app, google calendar or even a simple alarm clock.
- Mapping task: Trello, Evernote, 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!