Our brains are not wired for prolonged focus on long term goals. The concept of delayed gratification is one of the toughest things to exercise or practice. We need instant satisfaction and when something doesn’t provide instant satisfaction then the task falls down our to-do lists.
Here are two techniques we like to use when we are stuck not doing the important things that we know we need to be doing.
30 Minutes a Day
Tell yourself you will work on the large task for only 30 minutes a day. This isn’t so intimidating. The great thing about the 30 minutes a day concept is that before you know it the task get’s done. It’s like slowly chipping away at this enormous task without having to stress about the weight of the entire project.
Another wonderful side effect is that once you get started on the task, you may fall into the zone and continue working past the 30 minute marker. Usually when this happens, you were intensely focused and not really feeling the time flying. This is when you get your best work done!
Rearrange Your To-do List
This one is a cool mental hack. So you know you have to get that annoyingly important thing done, but you just can’t get yourself to do it. You start fidgeting with other tasks, and you get easier ones done and out of the way. Think about this phenomenon for a moment. You somehow got through your 2nd to nth to-do on your to-do list, and your sole motivation was that you didn’t want to get started on the most important thing.
What does this mean? Next time you are annoyed, and having trouble starting on that really important task, think about another even more annoyingly important task and write that as your number one task.
Procrastination sucks, but we all deal with it. Sometimes you just can’t do anything about it and the nearing deadline is the only way to buckle down and to get it done. On other days we have all the motivation in the world to do what it takes. Ride the good with the bad and really in the end, it’s best not to be to hard on yourself. Just keep at it!