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The Top Five Ways to Get Things Done!

Ever have one of those days when you just can’t seem to get going? Or do you have a “to do” list that has the same items on it today that it did three months ago? Well, you are not alone! We all have those days, or sometimes months! Here are 5 surefire ways to overcome that inertia!

  1. Use positive reinforcementMake a deal with yourself - if you complete task A you will receive a special reward. Maybe it is reading your favorite book for 30 minutes, calling a friend, or going to a movie. Make sure that the reward is enough to help you overcome that inertia, but make it comparable to the task at hand, i.e. a weekend vacation is not the reward you get for making that one 10 minute phone call you have been putting off J.
  2. Break it downUsually we avoid tasks when we find them overwhelming. Take that activity and break it down into small steps. Then start with one of the steps. You can even add the reinforcement aspect into this one if you wish.
  3. The Five Minute PlanI love this one. Here you take whatever task it is and set your timer for 5 minutes. You do the activity until the bell rings. If at that time you WANT to continue with the task, you do. If you don’t, you stop. The key here is only continuing if you want to continue- most of us get caught in the “shoulds” and then continue that way. Unfortunately, that inhibits the usefulness of the strategy, since if you know that you will have to continue after the five minutes, would you even start???
  4. Three minutes or less planAnother great one. With this strategy, you take the task at hand and if it takes three minutes or less to complete, you do it right then! You’d be surprised how many things we put off only take a couple minutes to complete.
  5. Predict the difficulty and satisfactionTake the task you need to complete and on a scale from 0 to 100 identify how difficult you think the task with be to complete. Using the same rating scale, rate how satisfied you think you will feel upon completion (0 being no satisfaction, 100 being the highest level of satisfaction). You may surprise yourself. I was talking with a friend recently and she shared an experience about when she procrastinated on completing her taxes one year. She filed for the extension, and then put it off again until the day before it was due. She estimated that she’d spent hours avoiding it, thinking about avoiding it, and cleaning her house instead of completing the task. Then when she finally sat down to do them, it took her 2 hours and she had a good sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from completing the task!