Making Last Things First

womanbusyAs a kid I was a picky eater and would quickly gobble up whatever it was I liked on the plate and then watch the paint dry wishing for the rest of the food to disappear.  This habit of doing something you like first comes pretty naturally to most people.  Focusing only on doing the things we like to do ends up with some major procrastination on the things that we have to do but don’t enjoy as much.  In working to become more efficiently however, taking on the challenge of applying equal time and attention to things we don’t like to do can be a difficult one to take on.  In the long run, however, giving your mind the tools it needs to take on the challenge of overcoming the “I Don’t Wannas” can give us a real weapon in the procrastination department.

Repetition:  It may sound silly but positive reinforcement can go a long way to convince your mind that things are not that bad.  We can quickly slip down the slippery slope of stating that we don’t want to do something and our actions following close behind.  Instead practice stating the opposite.  Instead of dreading mowing the lawn tell yourself you can’t wait to do it and tie it to the feeling you will get when the task is accomplished.  Although you may not like mowing your lawn you probably enjoy the look of your home when it is well manicured or dread cleaning your desk but enjoy how it feels to have someone feel comfortable or compliment your office.  You cannot trick your brain with a lie but you can remind yourself of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of doing things you dread.

Scheduling: Put the things you don’t like to do at the times when you are most productive. Doing things we like to do quickly move up the to-do list ladder because we know it won’t take as long as doing the things we dread.  Or at least this can be an excuse once again leading to procrastination.  Flip the script and put the things you dread at the time you are your best.  You being at your prime will help in the battle that doing things you dislike weighs.  Plus once you get to the things you like to do you, there is a natural boost from being in your zone that can help you carry through periods you are feeling worn down from the day such as after lunch or at the end of the day.

Consequences: The carrot or the stick is an age old question and everyone is different in how they are motivated.  Regardless of if your motivation is a treat or the lack there of finding something tangible to associate with a job well done can give you the motivation to cross the finish line.  Starting a project on the “I Don’t Wanna’s” list is a great start but the more you do it the more you are probably reminded of how it got on the list in the first place.  By associating it with something else you again move your mind from all the reasons its hates doing it to reasons why it is important to do or what will be missed if it is not done.  You can’t delete a negative thought but you can replace it with a different thought all together.

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