How many days have you been putting off that job for?
You know you need to do it. You’ve gone over every possible way of wriggling out of this commitment and you know it’s not an option.
You are aware of the consequences of not doing it, and of the joy and relief that awaits you at the end of this journey.
But you just cant get yourself to do it.
Its tough, and it’s painful. Maybe it overwhelms you, maybe it hits you at your weakest point, evokes the biggest fears, or maybe you just simply don’t like doing it.
But it has to be done.
I know the pain. The most recent project I volunteered for was massive, involved reading research papers and doing proper academic style referencing. Three things I dread because they overwhelm me.
Yes, I cursed myself for putting my hand up to do it. And yes, I thought it was a great idea at the time.
It took me three days to psych myself up to get all the gear from the cupboard onto my desk.
Three days of procrastination to the ironing-my-shirts degree.
But I finally did it! And I’m now well past the 50% mark.
You can do it too. Today, or tomorrow – whenever you decide to. And here is how:
1. Treat this as a job for your most valuable customer/client.
It doesn’t really matter if this job actually is commissioned by your best customer. For whatever reason(s) you have committed yourself to completing the task and put your professional or personal reputation and credibility at stake. So it really is a job you’re doing for yourself. You are your best customer/client – the most loyal, the most reliable, the one that makes money for you, but sometimes also the most demanding and fussy one.
That dreaded project of mine was not only well paid and I needed the money; it was also an opportunity to work for a respected brand, gain credibility in the niche and at the same time add a few highly relevant points to my professional development portfolio. I really wanted to get it done. I wanted to do it for myself.
If you cant find motivation to get this dreaded job out-of-the-way – do it for yourself and treat it as if it was for your most valuable customer.
2. Prepare the ground.
Do all necessary groundwork upfront. This is a tough job, so make it as easy as you can.
My biggest challenge was the sheer size of the project, so I broke it down into manageable chunks, with clearly defined steps.
And as I had made some headway on it a few months ago, I already had an outline and a list of main academic resources I wanted to use. Now, I needed to dig it out and map out what had to be done next. As a short distance runner easily overwhelmed by large projects, I had to constantly remind myself this was a planning stage and I did not need to do anything else now. I managed to find all the gear I needed, read what had already been done and made a plan, step-by-step.
So get your gear ready. Get the documents and reference books off the shelves, pens and paper from the drawers; find those websites Have all you need for the job handy. And then, list all the things that have to be done to complete the task, step by step. Be clear in identifying the sequence of the steps, always asking yourself: what’s the next thing I need to do.
3. Think up a reward.
Once you have a plan, think of a something to reward yourself for doing this job. An afternoon spent curled up with a book or your favorite game? A chat with your best friend? A long walk in the park? A bar of chocolate? Whatever rocks your boat; make a promise to yourself that once you’ve done that dreaded task, you will indulge yourself in something you really enjoy.
4. Schedule it.
Once you’ve got the reward and you’re looking forward to it, schedule the job, just like you would schedule a meeting with your most valued customer. Put it in your diary. Make sure you block out enough time to do it. Add in time for breaks and I’d even suggest you add some extra time ‘just in case’.
I schedule in short breaks, to keep myself going, but dont lose momentum.
5. Turn up and do the job.
Turn up on the day & time, just as you would do for a meeting with your best customer, and have everything ready waiting for you to jump in and tackle it head-on.
Limit any temptation of getting distracted or procrastinating by turning off all notifications (email, social media, text messages; put your answer phone on). You can cut off your access to the Internet if it’s necessary and you dont need the Net to complete the job. Or you can work in a full-screen mode.
For jobs like that I often use the Pomodoro technique: I set my timer on 25 minutes and work 25 minutes flat without any interruptions or distractions. Once the time is up, I take a short (a couple of minutes) break just for a stretch, and then come back and repeat. Or I just carry on if I’m in the flow. A longer break of 15-20 minutes is recommended ever 4 Pomodoros. I tend to use those as my meal breaks.
Hopefully by your first longer break, you’ll be well underway, without even noticing it.
So how do you feel about that dreaded dreadful job of yours now? Does it feel more doable?
My project is well underway, and I’m planning to finish it by the end of this week.
Don’t wait any longer and stop wasting your energy on beating yourself up about not doing it. This is your chance to get that job done now, or tomorrow.
You know how to do it. Just take one step at the time. Remember, you are your most valuable customer, do it for yourself. Imagine how youre going to enjoy that reward and how happy your best customer will be!
See, you’re already under way!
Go, get to the next step!