This isn’t one of those “How to get work done” posts that gives you really broad, useless advice, like, “JUST DO IT.” Or, “Make wise choices.”
…….I mean, if I really could “JUST DO IT,” or “Make wise choices,” I would. Wouldn’t we all?
In 2014, I found myself with so many plans in life that it was just easier to do nothing. My procrastination to action ratio was like 20:1. Even simple things, like cleaning my bathroom, took at least 20 hours of contemplating before I’d spend the 1 hour needed to scrub the toilet.
Needless to say, there was a lot of sitting around and thinking.
Here are 7 tips that really worked for me in 2014, that I am happy to pass along — in hopes one will work for you!
1. Set deadlines for everything. Like, on that thing with boxes called your calendar.
Trying to rewrite your resume? Deadline.
Trying to go on 3 dates with 3 new people? Deadline.
If it’s important, you will make a deadline for it.
If you had an appointment to see the President, wouldn’t you stick that ish on your calendar and make sure nothing got in the way? There is no reason not to value your own appointments with yourself in the same way. Calendar them.
Even if you FEEL hesitant — “Oh my god, do I have the guts to apply for this new job?” — write it there anyway. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how you feel about doing it, as long as you do it.
2. Get your hardcore buddy to check-in with you on the days of your deadlines.
This would ideally be a really hardcore friend who has the ability to BOTH: (a) cheer you on; (b) shamelessly humiliate you if you do not achieve your goals.
This is also ideally a buddy who is working towards goals of their own.
Here’s an idea to riff of of: My friend formed an exercise group with her buddies. They each put $20 into a pot, and whoever achieved their own (individualized) exercise goals most consistently, “won” the money.
3. Create a Bullet Journal.
I used to scrawl my To-Do lists haphazardly into a notebook, on my hand, or on a napkin, and search high and low for them at the wrong times.
My Bullet Journal has been the best thing I’ve done with my To-Do lists since I started one EVER. I’d photograph mine to show you, but it’s filled with semi-personal tasks, like, “Buy new underwear.”
My Bullet Journal keeps my appointments, my To-Do lists, my lists of directions, packing lists for trips, and everything else in ONE PLACE. Here’s a link to making your own.
4. Change your email passwords to remind you of your goals.
This isn’t my idea; it’s from some article that my friend Ryan told me about.
It’s working for me. It’s a simple reminder that takes zero extra time out of my day.
5. Use your Power Mix to do physical tasks.
My Power Mix currently includes Beyonce, Mika, and Jungle (the group, not the genre).
Whatever music that makes you want to get up and move is your Power Mix.
As a lethargic person, I use my Power Mix to get myself off the sofa. Need to clean the kitchen? Power Mix. Need to exercise? Jog to your Power Mix. Need to make dinner? Power Mix it up!
Just before writing this blog post, I just finished cooking my meals for the week while listening to my Power Mix. Mine lasts just over 60 min, and I listened to it 2x.
6. Listen to podcasts or instructional videos while you drive, chop vegetables, or wash dishes.
Instructional videos are to the brain what warm-ups are to the game.
Keeping my brain actively learning topics related to That Thing I Need to Do (TTINTD) makes it far easier to jump into That Thing I Need to Do. It’s like keeping my muscles warm before running a marathon.
Not that I’ve ever run a marathon. Maybe with enough Power Mixes, I might, though. Ha, ha, ha.
7. Work on TTINTD just 5 minutes a day.
Then, there are the days when it just isn’t happening. But I don’t give up! If I give it 5 minutes a day, I’m still keeping my goals fresh in my mind. 5 minutes is enough for me to not worry about whether I “succeed” or “fail.” It takes allllll the pressure off.
With 5 minutes a day, you’ll have worked on That Thing You Need to Do for 2.5 hours in the course of 1 month. While not enough to earn you a billion dollars, 2.5 hours is still going to get you somewhere.
After awhile, I’ve discovered that I naturally start working on That Thing for more than 5 minutes….. it’s a trick that works for me every time!
Phew! There ya go.
These are 7 things that I did last year that worked for me. I pass them along to you.
What about you? What has worked for you?