Do anything to get you started. When you don’t feel like working and all the planners, routines, timers and complicated productivity systems aren’t helping, throw everything out and do anything. That could mean lying on the couch and doing nothing, but if you’re out on the internet looking for ways to make yourself do something even when you don’t want to, I’m assuming you feel guilty about ignoring your task list but still can’t make yourself get up and tackle it.
Reasons why you might not want to:
- There’s too much to do
- Your system for getting things done is too complicated.
It’s true what they say that you can’t always rely on emotions to get things done otherwise you might be lounging more than you actually work. That is, until you’ve had enough of the state of your life that you actually have emotionally reset yourself to find cleaning and life admin more important than being ‘lazy’ or relaxing. I put the lazy in quotes because chances are you’re relaxing because you need to relax. You probably have a stressful job or a stressful inner monologue or both. In which case you need to learn to just give in to what your emotions are telling you to do and just relax.
Eventually, however, you’ll get tired of relaxing to the point where you’ve let your life fall apart. Everything is a mess and the mess is just adding to your stress.
Then you might try a productivity system or two. Set up routines. Work with timers. You know, the whole shebang.
But that grows cumbersome and sometimes when you’re in the mood to work, it’s not the time in the routine to do so. And when it is the time, you have a hard time getting yourself to do it now.
So what’s the solution?
Most of the time you can’t get yourself to stick to a routine for a task is because you’re not used to the task yet. It’s in those situations, you have to do them whenever you feel like doing them. That gets in the reps. I am assuming you even WANT to do the task or you feel that you need to because it will improve your life somehow. If that is the case, don’t worry, the guilt of not doing it will be in the back of your mind at all times. So when it comes time where you actually get in the mood to do it, don’t waste the opportunity. Do it right then and there, damn the routines and schedules. You have earned yourself a rep.
That’s key to productivity. Exposure to the task and racking up the reps.
All the scheduling and fitting into a routine will come later when you have developed confidence and comfort with performing that task, whenever and wherever. And you do that by following your heart or gut or whatever body part that tells you to perform that task. Plus, you’ll naturally get a feel for when you should do that task because you’ll be following a schedule that’s naturally set to you and how you operate.
The only way to achieve all that is by getting rid of all the rules and expectations and focusing on doing what you feel like doing at that moment in time. And repeating what you’ve done to yourself. Take note of what you just got done. Then see the next thing you can get done. And the next. And the next.
Don’t worry about when or for how long you should do the task. Just focus on getting that task done to gain experience points. You can level up as you do more and more. Focus on what you get done. Then do whatever comes to your mind next.
- If you get confused or blank on what you could do next, write out the things you would like to get done. These aren’t things you must get done now. These are options for you to choose from. Doesn’t matter what would be the smartest choice, choose what you want to do in that moment in time.
- Sometimes you might not want to start because you know how long your list is and you start thinking about all that you have to do. That’s an issue. Because now you’ve shifted your focus from what you’ve completed to everything that’s left to do. There will always be an unlimited amount of things to do. But if you focus instead on what you’ve done and completed and can build on, you’ll find that you have more energy to continue (if you so choose).
- Give yourself an exit. Don’t commit to long sessions of work. Break down tasks into what you think you can handle doing and do whatever you feel like doing, telling yourself you can take a break whenever you want to. You don’t have to keep going. This can set you up for long zen work sessions because you know you can stop at any time and relax.
- Lower the bar. You know how you should break tasks down? You should also lower the bar on them. Do the basic level of the task, just to get it done and out of the way. If you have to sweep and mop your floors, just do a sweep for now. You’ll do enough sweeps to the point where you’ll eventually just start mopping right after you sweep. But you won’t get to that stage until you’ve put in your reps for sweeping enough times where you don’t experience any resistance from it. So then you naturally feel like levelling up to mopping next. That’s what it means to build on your habits.
- When you’re stuck, overwhelmed or confused, write everything out.
- Focus on the gains, your accomplishments, what you got done
- Break things down into quick, easy tasks you can tick off quickly in your head
- Give yourself an exit to stop (and start) work whenever you want.
- Lower the bar and do the most basic parts of the task.