Whether it’s posting on a particular Social Media platform or answering emails, we all have certain tasks that are not our favorite thing to do. Those are the things that we tend to put off and dread, even if they’re not that big of a deal. But they nag at us in the back of our minds nonetheless, like a faint, annoying buzz. And all along, there’s a simple cure for our procrastination and dread. Here’s how to change how you feel about not-so-favorite tasks so you stop putting them off.
How Your Brain Works
First, let’s establish a fact about how our brains work. Take a detour in your mind and imagine a piece of fruit—a ripe orange. In your mind’s eye, peel the orange and expose the juicy flesh. As you pull apart the sections, sweet orange juice drips out. Imagine biting a section of orange and savoring the sweet citrus juice squirting in your mouth….
Did your mouth water just thinking about it? It’s funny how your imagination can cause such a physical reaction, isn’t it?
How You Imagine What You’re Putting Off
Now go back to the un-favorite task. Let’s say you’ve developed an aversion to posting on Facebook. You used to enjoy it but it has become a dreaded task. Maybe you didn’t get the engagement you’d hoped for, or you were publicly chewed out by an irate customer. It could be that your to-do list grew so long that Facebook fell way down on the list. You know that you should be posting regularly to connect with your fans and grow your business presence, but you keep putting it off, feeling guilty and eventually disliking the task altogether.
What are your general thoughts about this task? “I need to post on Facebook. I don’t have time. I don’t want to. I don’t get it, anyway. It doesn’t do any good. Our Page hasn’t grown like it should. I’ll do it tomorrow.” Your imagination is creating a further dread and dislike for Facebook. Every time you think a negative, stressed thought about the work, you’re strengthening the dread and deepening the dislike.
So will it change how you feel to think bright and cheery thoughts about your lofty Facebook goals? Should you envision 50,000 fans and dream of a 75% engagement rate? Probably not, because your brain will recognize the disconnect and the huge chasm between your goal and what you’ve been doing.
How to Do What You Keep Putting Off
Instead of focusing on your far-off goals and getting overwhelmed—or continuing to dread the job–imagine what it will be like to do the actions associated with that goal. See yourself enjoying daily interaction with your fans. Imagine having fun gathering content to share. Think about how great it’s going to feel to connect regularly with your audience.
Visualizing your end goal may help on occasion, but it often ends up as a short blast of motivation. It’s better to use your imagination to envision yourself doing the things that lead to the goal. Just as imagining a juicy orange makes your mouth water, your body and emotions will follow where your imagination goes.
Deliberately use your imagination to work in your favor. Of course, nothing changes until you actually do the work, but we’re talking about how to change how you feel about the stuff you have to do.
It will also help to lay out a system for what to do each day. Removing the guesswork and vague ideas will change your feelings for the task. None of us like to do something we’re not good at. Fortunately, Social Media skills can be learned and improved. Get some good training, then put it to work.
The next time you start dreading a task that you should be doing, take a few moments to imagine yourself doing that very thing with enthusiasm and skill. See yourself doing it well, and envision the specifics of the task. Try it as an experiment. Start with one not-so-favorite task, see yourself tackling it and pay attention to your body and emotions through the process. Then apply the power of your imagination to another dreaded job. Before you know it you’ll be sailing through your days, feeling good and getting those not-so-favorite tasks DONE!