Perhaps you want to complete a project at work, write a blog or learn a new skill. Whatever it is, it has been on your to-do list for some time now; it might even be a recurring New Year’s resolution. So how do you turn this around and get it moved from something you want to do in the future to an active task in the present?
There are lots of ways we sabotage our own best intentions – inventing excuses not to start, prioritising easier tasks, or staying safely inside our comfort-zones. The following tips can be used to help you move past your block and address those items you’ve been putting off for too long.
1.Break it down into bite-size chunks.
Figure out what the smallest single task is and do it. There – you’ve started. Completing tiny tasks is a quick win, and it can be very motivating to see some items ticked off the to-do list.
2. Allocate a specific amount of time to complete each task
This could be one minute, five minutes, half an hour, whatever is needed to tick another item off the list. Also, put in on your schedule. “Later” is too vague. It’s more likely to be done if it’s in the diary at 10:30 on Tuesday morning, say.
3. Don’t forget why you want to complete the task
Remember the genesis of your goal, the Why. This can be a fundamental motivator when all can come up with are reasons not to start. Imagine how it will feel to be finished
4. Don’t allow perfection get in the way
First attempts are just that: first, not final. For written work, it is easier to work with “done” than a blank page. The initial product can be polished and improved before it’s finished. “Good enough” is often good enough and should not be the reason you don’t try it at all.
5. Visualise outcome you want
It’s much easier to achieve something you can actually see, so keep an image of the final outcome as a regular reminder – on the fridge, on your computer’s desktop or near your workspace.
6. Find someone to hold you accountable
Tell someone you respect about your plans – they’ll ask you about your progress, which may help to keep you on track.
7. Go easy on yourself. Sometimes.
You probably have lots of demands on your time and choose to prioritise other duties. Sometimes delays are inevitable, but don’t use this as an excuse every day.
8. Remove distractions from your environment
If necessary, turn off the wifi; put your phone in airplane mode; listen to some instrumental music though earphones. Take whatever steps you need to allow you to focus your attention for the period of time you chose at Step 2.
9. Start small, but START!
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