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Pick a New Task to Ignore and Watch the Other Stuff Get Done

I’ve found a good technique to get moving on a task that’s been stalled by my own procrastination.  And it doesn’t involve egg timers, checklists or accountability partners.  For me, it works every time.

When I get to the point that I recognize I’m procrastinating on a task I’ve usually demonized it.  Not sure why that happens, but I know that it does. It’s not unusual for me to have several reminder notes stuck to my computer and multiple lists of things that need to be done.  And one of them has been there for a long time.  I’ve seen it, whacked myself on the head for not getting it done, but still haven’t done it.  Why?

Because for some reason I’ve convinced myself that I don’t want to do it.  I’ll just push the evil demon task to the side and instead work on any number of less important things that for some reason seem less objectionable to me.  By the end of the day I’ll have all sorts of low-level stuff finished but no progress on the lingering task that makes my stomach knot when I think about it.

So how do I finally get the incentive to start that nagging project?  It’s easy… I just identify a new project or task that is even more unpleasant and let it become my new problem task.  If I can identify something even more distasteful that needs to get done, then the long-neglected action items becomes one of those “I’ll do this instead” items instead of the albatross around my neck.

No matter what you’ve been putting off, there’s always something more even bigger and more important that you don’t want to do.  Identify it.  Post notes all over the place admonishing yourself to get it done.  Remind yourself how important it is.  And guess what will happen next?

While you’re not doing that new task, you’ll get the earlier long-procrastinated task finished.  It will lose its place at the top of your procrastination pile and become something you’d rather do instead of the new task.  Repeat as necessary.

Is it a little bit embarrassing to admit that I can trick myself this way into doing something?  Sure.  But it’s sort of like setting your clock ahead a few minutes to make sure you aren’t late for an appointment.  You know what time it REALLY is, but you arrive early anyway.  Same with this.  You CAN convince yourself that there’s something worse to do than today’s demon task.

Think I’m kidding?  Give it a try.

Hang in.  If we can help you, just let us know.

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Whittle & Partners is a consulting group that provides EOS™ Implementation in the United States and beyond. We offer in-person and online solutions to fit your business and schedule.Visit our about us page to learn how and why we love bringing Dallas Traction.

Jeff Whittle is a Certified Dallas EOS Implementer.

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