We are no strangers these days to disappointments – with all the restrictions to our lifestyles we’ve been through since the beginning of 2020 (yes, I am talking about the pandemic!).
On top of all this hardship, I have noticed people are quite self critical when they are behind on their own goals. This rarely acts as a motivator!
I find a great sense of achievement in powering through my responsibilities and tasks. it’s really grounding. I’m at a point now where I am at Inbox Zero – a good time for me to write this post! Here are some small tricks and tools you can put in place that help if getting things done seems difficult.
You may have a big plan – and you’re excited to get it done! When you decided to do this, you thought – this is great, this is easy! The tip we have heard over and over is to put the task in your calendar/diary. If the first step of the big plan is to “write an outline” or “find examples of others” then put that task in your diary and show up for yourself!
If you have a friend who also has ambitions, and you probably do – then plan a work sprint. For those who don’t know yet, a Work Sprint works like this:
- Meet at designated time – online or in person
- Look at the time and plan the start and end point of your working time – eg “we’ll begin at 10 past the hour and do our “sprint” till 10 past the next hour. Or “We’ll do a 45 minute sprint till X time”.
- Tell each other what you’re going to be working on – be realistic – what can you actually do in the designated time? Eg: I wll work on this proposal, research and find 10 examples of X, raise 3 invoices, etc.
- Silently work on ONLY that task – no discussions. You can play music!
- When the time is up (there may be an alarm) then stop – tell each other how you did – and start again!
I like to do 2-3 work sprints per session with friends!
Sometimes it’s just the start of something that is stopping you. If you delegate it, even if it comes back wrong, you’ll feel compelled to fix it and it will get done that way! I asked a couple of young interns we were testing to help with this post, and when the information was returned, I was prompted to refine and get it done they way I wanted it!
Make a bet
If you’re a little bit competitive and like the accountability, make a bet with a friend, deciding when you will complete your respective tasks (which must be similar in terms of how long they take) and whoever finishes first with set criteria and quality, wins the bet – and a prize must be decided between you!
Give yourself some sort of reward for completing a task – even if it’s to be able to rest, watch a favourite show, call a friend, or go out for a walk. This is a great motivator and works well even if you’re working on your own!
Eat that frog
Do your task first thing, before you do anything else – even before you check your email. Take the whole hour and focus ONLY on this – and make it a habit – it gets easier over time. This is known as the “non-negotiable hour” – from the book Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy.