Whenever I get stuck and feel unmotivated, I write up a list of five things to do. I recommend you do this too. The list can be trivial tasks that can be done in a minute. Nevermind, just write them down. Then do them. Then take a break and congratulate yourself! Only moments earlier you were not able to do anything and you just did 5 things!
Here’s some things you can put on your list if you can’t think of anything:
- Take deep breaths
- Drink some water
- Have a snack
- Empty the garbage
- Tidy your desk
- Email a quick thank you/note of appreciation to someone
- Water your plants and see how they are doing
- Eat a piece of fruit
- Read something inspiration
- Write something inspirational for you to read tomorrow
- Delete unwanted emails
- Unsubscribe to unwanted emails
- Check your spam folder for important emails
- Declutter your desktop a bit / a lot
- Change into better clothes
- Wash your face
- Brush your teeth
- Sweep or clean an area of your home
- Plan to do something you enjoy
You can easily pull five things out of that list.
Once you get the five done, do five more. Maybe you now have the momentum to tackle something bigger? Great, then do that!
I find this technique good when my energy levels are low, or if my todo list seems daunting. Give it a try: you might find yourself getting more things done.
(Photo by ANIRUDH on Unsplash)
Let’s face it: Monday is a good day to deal with tasks you’ve been putting off. So you write them down, say: this week I will deal with these! And then….you don’t.
It’s ok. Procrastination is a complex thing. If you don’t believe me, read this:
‘Why Do I Spend Weeks Avoiding Tasks That Will Take Me 10 Minutes to Do?’
So much of our culture rewards us for meeting deadlines, so we are encouraged to do things at the last minute. That can encourage our use of procrastination. Likewise, many of us do not acknowledge we have ebbs and flows of energy as well as ebbs and flow of mood. If we were to acknowledge that, we would schedule tasks when we know we have energy and in a good mood.
Read the article and pick out the things that contribute to your putting things off (e.g. mood). Then schedule and do those things that have been on your todo list for so so long.
(Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash)
Because as this piece argues: Your To-Do List Is, in Fact, Too Long.
I know mine is. Yours likely is too. And if you are using your inbox as an organic todo list, I am sure it is too long.
That piece argues for one way of dealing with it. To me, I think there are several ways. Here are some:
- Write down 1-3 things on your list that you can definitely accomplish today. Meetings count. So does research and education. Lunch too.
- Write down 1 hard thing and 1 fun thing to do from your list. Do that hard thing, then reward yourself with the fun thing.
- Park your old todo list somewhere. Come up with a new list. On the bottom of it, write down: revisit my old list later in the day. You will discover two things: one, you did things on it even if you couldn’t bear to write them down now; two, the things you actually did were more important than the things on your list.
- First thing on your todo list: create two new lists. One list is all the things on your todolist you can avoid doing for a month; the other list are things you have to do this month. Second thing on your todo list: for the second todo list, write down the least amount of things you have to do to push all the items off until the next month. After you do this, your list will shrink considerably.
- Don’t write anything down first, just start working. Every time you get something done in a period of 15 minutes or more, write it down. That was your todo list all along: you just couldn’t write it until you started.
Image via Donald Giannatti