You’ve been meaning to get to that item on your to-do list for days. You know you should do it. It wouldn’t actually take that long but something always comes up. Or you have the best of intentions but you’re so exhausted after work that anything other than sinking into the couch and numbing out seems impossible.
So days later the to-do item (and the not-so-nice voice in your head that has been needling you for not doing it) is still incomplete.
The task might be a difficult conversation, a chore you really dislike (taxes anyone?), or facing your critical voice as you dig into a creative project. Whatever it is, thinking about it fills you with dread. Not doing it makes you feel like a total slacker. Here’s the secret to going from dreading it to getting it done:
Move from Inaction to Completion
Technique 1: Start with What You are Most Resisting
Stop thinking about it. Stop saving it until later. Do the hard/uncomfortable/not-so-fun stuff first. Not only will it get done, but you’ll stop filling your time with all sorts of stalling tactics and be able to enjoy the rest of your day doing things that energize you rather than deplete you. You’ll feel relieved and ready to move on to more interesting projects. How much time have you spent procrastinating, avoiding, stalling on the projects you don’t want to do? What would it feel like to stop berating yourself and be done with them?
I’m not talking about steeling yourself to tolerate more of the things that don’t support you and need to be changed (the dead-end job or the unfulfilling relationship), this isn’t about grinding your way through. This is about doing the things that you know are in alignment with your why and your purpose in life, but you still aren’t doing them. This is about being vulnerable and doing the things you fear and make you get uncomfortable. Completing these things will get rid of your excuses for playing small and allow you to create a Big Life that matters.
Technique 2: Master the 20 Minute Time Block
We often complain that we don’t have enough time or energy to do the things we want to do. To this, I raise the BS flag. Everyone can carve out twenty minutes in their day. When you master the 20 Minute Time Block (based on the Pomodoro technique), you’ll be guaranteed to move from inaction to completion.
A twenty-minute block is long enough to get something accomplished, but not so long that it feels overwhelming. I can stay focused for twenty minutes at a time. Sitting down and writing my novel for an hour? Completely daunting. Keeping my fingers moving across the keyboard for twenty minutes at a time? Totally doable.
Completing a twenty-minute time block builds momentum. Just like exercise, in the beginning it may not be very much fun. But a daily (or even three times a week) twenty-minute block will get you moving. It will get easier. You will see progress. The inertia of inactivity gets broken.
How to Master a 20 Minute Time-Block:
1. Set a timer for twenty minutes.
I use the countdown timer on my iphone, but any timer will work.
2. Set your intention.
Make a clear statement of what you are going accomplish. I’m going to _______.
- write the difficult email.
- pay my bills.
- go for a jog.
- declutter my closet.
- write the next scene in my book.
3. Avoid distraction.
Don’t read the incoming text message, don’t answer the phone, don’t go get the drink of water. It will wait for twenty minutes. Distractions will occur but you don’t need to respond. Don’t let yourself stray. Single-tasking is much more productive than multitasking.
4. Stop when the time’s up.
When the timer beeps, that’s it. Take a break, stretch, then decide what’s next. Maybe you’ll do another twenty-minute block. Or maybe you’ll respond to the text messages.
5. Celebrate your success.
Twenty minutes five times a week is over an hour and a half a week, over six and half hours a month, and eighty hours a year. What could you accomplish in this time? What’s been unfinished that you could complete? What could you begin?
Staring with What We are Most Resisting and Mastering 20 Minute Time Blocks are two techniques we’ve been using in the Big Life Accountability Support Team (BLAST) we’re getting phenomenal results. To learn more about the BLAST and find out about the next session, sign up to be a BLAST insider.
What else have you tried or works to move you from inaction to completion? Share in the comments.