How do you do work that you want to avoid? We all have dreadful tasks once in a while, and many of us tend to avoid doing things we don’t like. However…
If you wait until you feel like doing something, you will likely never accomplish it.John C. Maxwell, Thinking for a Change (2003)
Waiting until the last minute often builds up anxiety and stress. While the ultimate pressure might help you eventually get the task done, this practice can lead to burnout. What if you could stop putting off the work you dread? We have 5 practical action ideas for you to consider to help you conquer the work you’ve been avoiding.
1. Reward yourself to spike your motivation
Motivation goes hand in hand with rewards. Studies show that when we get consistent rewards, our brains get more interested in doing the task. Often the rewards we seek are external. For example, we crave validation or an award. But they need not be that. Prepare a ‘reward’ just for showing up to a task you would normally avoid. This works particularly well for those who need a constant stream of “pay-offs”. Here are some easy examples you could implement into your routine:
- Break down your task into very short actions, so you can highlight them off your Grid for quick satisfaction boost and definite progress. (What’s a Grid? Look here!)
- Give yourself a sticker or a positive affirmation for completing the task you have been putting off.
- Join the task work with something you do enjoy: for every house chore you do, you can watch 15min of your favorite Netflix series.
We all like rewards and our brains do too! We invite you to experiment with rewards and looking to yourself for positive affirmation when you show up to tasks that are less easy.
Your Grids are a great place to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. You can get our Grid pads to help you at the end of the article.
2. Tap into the power of accountability
Do you keep your promises? If you are someone who is more likely to get chores done for other people, this could be your strength! Hold yourself accountable by sharing your goals with other people. Here are a couple of ways you can use promises to your advantage:
- Tell your partner or a family member what you intend to do and by when you will do it. You can also either ask them to check in on you or agree to report when you complete the task. This can mimic the pressure of a deadline giving you motivation to power the doing.
- Find a support group or an accountability buddy. This can be your Uni classmate, a work colleague or a friend. There are many social media groups where you can find an accountability buddy, including our own Facebook Grid Community. You can then schedule regular catch-ups and show off your accomplishments to each other.
3. Give yourself more time than you think you need
Sometimes, we create pressure where there is none. Make time your friend, not your enemy! If it feels like a 30-minute task, give yourself an hour. If you finish early, you will feel proud and motivated. Likewise, if it took an hour, you will still feel accomplished and most importantly have a result!
If you Grid, you will also be able to highlight the task on your Grid.
4. Experiment with a short time limit to get started
If step 3 sounds overwhelming, you may benefit from working in short bursts instead. In our immersive online Gridding course, we cover how to break down the work you avoid into small, bite-sized pieces.
You can take this further by setting a timer. For example, if you need to write a document, your Grid task list could look like this:
- big outline: 15min
- research: 15min
- topic 1 outline: 20min
- topic 2 outline: 20min
See for yourself just how versatile the Grid can be when it’s personalized.
5. Feel into the true reason behind your avoidance
When dealing with tasks you are inclined to avoid, ask yourself: What’s holding me back? Acknowledging where your resistance comes from is the first step in finding long-term, personal solutions to minimizing the impact avodiance has on us.
Consider for 1 minute the task you most often avoid.
- How does this task make you feel?
- Do you grow big and powerful as you think about it?
- Does the prospect of doing the work add energy or take it away?
We often avoid things because we’re not clear about what to do, or a part of us does not think or feel something is as important as another part of us believes. Sometimes, we simply have too much to do and what we need is to do less!
By having the courage to name what’s really going on, you will often discover a solution that’s right for you.
Put your own spin on things! There is no better way of finding out what works for you than experimening. The tips above will work differently from one person to another. We invite you to go on a journey of self-discovery with a clear intention to improve your life.
Your next steps
If you have decided on which action(s) you will take, here are some resources that will make your journey easier:
- Identify what does and doesn’t work in your current life routine with this free 15-minute Life Satisfaction Quiz and worksheet.
- Write down your tasks, rewards and track your progress with this free printable Grid Template, or get your own printed Productivity Starter Pack (this includes your weekly Gridding Pad, the Get Productive Grid book and two fresh highlighters).
- Meet others and develop accountability through our online, 90-minute Grid clinic sessions. These thematic small group events are a great way to show up to something you want to work on and leave with insights, tools and a plan for action.
Every day can be your Day 1!