Three Steps to Get Stuff Done – Even When You Don’t Want To
Do you ever get that when you sit down to write or do a task in your business?
Those “I just want to go play in the park” feelings don’t happen all the time – but when they do, I take a couple of steps to get me back into action.
Last week as I was teaching Money School live – someone asked me about how I get through procrastination and I when I taught these few steps – she begged me to write them down and share them.
So I decided to take her wise advice:
1. Know Yourself. When I realize that I’m procrastinating, I always assess what is going on in my life. If I’ve just taught an intensive, been at an event, or had a full day of clients, I know that my brain just needs to go through some mush time.
Mush time for me consists of watching episodes of one of my favorite science fiction and fantasy shows, watching TED Talks or going for a walk aimlessly. My current show is Young Merlin – now stop laughing. I mean it.
The thing I’ve realized is that there is a certain formula for me to recover. I need to be alone or with one person. I need to not think for at least 3-4 hours. And most of the time I can’t be too physical as my body needs to recover as well.
If I follow this formula, all is well and I can usually snap back into work quite easily.
If I don’t follow the formula, by trying to work too soon, or by being too social, too active or doing too much thinking – I end up feeling bitter and tired and no quality work gets done.
I find that many of you push through your recovery times. Or you don’t recover in ways that work for you. Some of you may need alone time, others will need to be outside with lots of people around you. This is actually the main thing that differentiates introverts from extroverts – introverts need alone time to re-fuel. Extroverts need more people time.
So when you are procrastinating, check in to see if your body and mind need a break and you haven’t given them one.
See the thing about being an entrepreneur is that it is much more tiring than a normal job. It’s not just about the work you are doing. It is way more than that. Every day we face our fears, we learn new skills, and we take responsibility for everything. It is mentally and physically exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. So you need to take a real recovery – just like serious athletes do.
Ask yourself – how do I need to recover when I’ve been working hard or facing a lot of fears? Am I giving myself this opportunity on a daily or weekly basis?
2. Just Get Started. Ok, so once I’ve assessed that I don’t really need to recover, or that I can’t recover right now because something is due – then I go into “get it done” mode.
I’ve been in business for over seven years now with two separate companies – and frankly the “just do it” mentality doesn’t work so hot on me anymore. Telling myself to just get it done when my head’s not in the game doesn’t quite work, and it feels more like abuse than inspiration.
So instead I tell myself that I’m going to just get started. And if in 15 minutes, I’m still resentful, I will stop and determine the next step. Just get into it for 15 minutes.
Most of the time the 15-minute rule works like a charm and I end up totally getting absorbed in the task.
If the 15- minute rule doesn’t work – I then determine what the real problem is. Usually it’s because there is some unanswered question that I have about that task. Either I don’t know how to set it up or I’m over complicating a matter.
So I create the question, write it down and ask my mentor or find a resource and ask for help. This part is key: asking for help. Many of you stop at the not knowing what to do part and stew in a place of “I just can’t do this”.
3. Set The Environment. We all know that if we are trying to go on a diet and there’s chocolate in the house – no amount of willpower is going to help us. So it’s the same thing with getting tasks done when you aren’t motivated. You’ve got to clean out and set the scene.
Here’s how to do that:
A. Turn off e-mail, social media and your phone. Allow your self some space to concentrate.
B. Find a location that allows you to concentrate – this may be in your office or outside of it. No distractions here.
C. Set a timer for a concentrated 30 minutes and focus entirely during those 30 minutes on the task at hand. Then set the timer for a 10-minute break. Then start the whole cycle over.
D. Put on music that helps you concentrate (or work in silence if you prefer). I love classical music and chakras drumming sounds when I work.
You see, at the end of the day, we all deal with procrastination and avoidance. The key is making sure that you have a strategy to deal with it. Take these three steps to help you to stay in action – even on those days when you don’t want to.
I really love your feedback. Post a comment on the blog and let me know what you think and of course let me know your best strategy for dealing with procrastination.