Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Great Tip Tuesday

How to Actually Execute Your To-Do List: or,
Why Writing It Down Doesn’t Actually Get It Done

By B.J. Thunderstone

“I feel resistance when starting work on something.”

• Tiny chunk. Tell yourself you only have to do 5 minutes of work on it. That small amount of work is less intimidating.

• Just start. Once you get going, it’s much easier to keep going. So tell yourself that all you have to do is start.

• Reward yourself. Don’t let yourself check email (or whatever reward works for you — something that you need to do every day) until you do at least 10 minutes (or 15 or 20, it doesn’t matter) on the task. Set a timer. Once your 10 minutes is up, set another timer for 5 minutes and do email. Then repeat.

• Get excited about it. This is actually a tip that helps with any of these points. If you are excited about doing something, you will not hesitate to do it.
You are focusing on negative aspects. You might be focusing on how hard something is, or on all the obstacles. Try looking at the positive aspects instead.

“I often don’t feel like doing any work at all. The idea of work seems horrible and I never start doing anything.”
• Groom yourself. If you work from home, take a shower. Often the act of grooming ourselves can make us feel much better.

• Take a walk. I find that a little walk can get my blood pumping, refresh my mind, and allow me to think about what I really want to do today. It might not be what you need, but it’s worth a shot.
• Exercise. Similarly, exercise can make you feel great. A jog in the park, a short strength workout, some pilates, or meditation … these things get your mood up and get you feeling productive and happy. Try it out — you might feel more like doing stuff when you’re done.

Think of opportunities. Think about tomorrow — not tomorrow as in the distant future, but tomorrow as in the day after today. Imagine yourself looking back on today from tomorrow. Will you be glad you laid around? Or would you be happier if you did something, and took advantage of the opportunities in front of you today?

• Baby steps. Don’t think in terms of having to tackle an entire work day, or an entire list of stuff to do. That’s overwhelming. Just think of doing one thing. That’s all you have to do — just that one thing. Make it something small and easy, and ideally something fun and rewarding. Focus on that easy task. Once you get started, you might be more willing to do another thing. Then another.

• Commit thyself. If motivation is your problem, commit yourself to making some progress with a goal or project today, or every day this week — tell all your family and friends, write it in your blog — it’s a great motivator. Then hold yourself accountable by reporting to others what you did today.

• Rewards. Tell yourself that if you just do that first task, you’ll get a nice ice cream sundae. Or that you can buy a book, or DVD. Whatever your reward, use it to motivate yourself to just get started. Then let the rest flow from there.


AliceKay said...

Great tips. I'll have to try some of these out. Thanks!

I gotta go groom myself for work now. Have a good day.

April said...

These are definitely keepers! Have a super Tuesday!

Intense Guy said...

Nice tips.

I could use some actual work to do.

mommaof3 said...

great tips

Kristina P. said...

You always have the best tips!

And being a snowcone is awesome! I think of them as fun and delicious!

LadyStyx said...

That baby steps one is a keeper..especially when it comes to housework *ugh*. I use the "one thing/task" a day method. I must do one small home oriented task a day before I allow myself to get involved with much online. It could be something as simple as putting away the clothes that came up the night before from when I did laundry or cleaning out the medicine cupboard or cleaning a portion of my desk. When it's done, then I can get into a bigger fun type project. Today's was the medicine cupboard. The baskets were just over loaded. Once I got that done...I managed to clean-up the bathroom vanity as well (a task I'd goaled for tomorrow!). WHOOT!

Becky said...

Those are great tips;) Thanks!

I love the design of your blog~too stinkin cute!

I see you all the time on other's comments. Nice to finally 'meet' you!

Thanks so much for stopping by on my SITS day! That was an awesome day, and so cool to have so many come see me;)

Christina said...

I have a to do list all having to do with back to school! My wallet is cringing and hubbys butt cheek hurts!

Anonymous said...

I have to do the 'reward' thing for working out. I don't get to blog until I've worked out or walked the dogs, or done something.

Jewels said...

This is great Jeannie! I'm a few days behind on my blog reading (laptop is being feisty.) Sounds like you had a crummy day Friday. Hope it's gotten better!