Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference. We take comfortable beds for granted, until there are cracker crumbs between the sheets. And like cracker crumbs under the covers, sometimes your to-do list can feel gritty and uncomfortable. You know you need to get some things done but you’re procrastinating and you need some fast motivation.
The solution for the crumbs is to wash the sheets, and there are also some quick fixes for the tasks that are bugging you.
The first thing is to reduce the discomfort and smooth the way. Minimize the things that are scratching and getting in the way.
What are some of the crumbs in the sheets of your to-do list?
- Feeling intimidated by a big project
- Getting distracted by the internet: Pinterest, Facebook, reading blogs…
- Continually “getting ready” instead of getting to work
- Getting overwhelmed by having too much to do
- Avoiding a job because it’s hard
- Dreading a task that’s boring
- Having other people pile on the to-do’s with emails, private messages, calls, etc.
How can you brush away the scratchy feelings of guilt and procrastination?
A good start is to figure out every single issue that is causing you to put off getting started. Then find a way to drastically reduce or eliminate the issue.
Break a big project into really small tasks. Instead of listing “Create Power Point presentation,” write down “Make one Power Point slide.” Time yourself to see how long it takes, then draw a big, satisfying line through that item on your list. Trick yourself into keeping it easy and doable by putting one more slide on your list and then creating it.
Get rid of distractions. Turn off notifications, set an alarm to check email only at certain times. Clean up your work area to remove visual clutter, but don’t turn it into an excuse to put off your to-do list.
Set a timer to focus and work on one thing.No fair using the time to “get ready.”
Avoiding a job because it’s hard is another form of fear. As long as we avoid and don’t look at the issue it has power over us. Bring it out into the open by sitting down with pen and paper. List the steps to accomplish the job. Write down “what’s the worst thing that will happen if I don’t do this perfectly?” Write about your purpose for doing the task, the big “why.” Figure out the underlying reason for avoiding the job. Shining a flashlight in the dark corner will remove the unknown and you can see it for what it is.
Dreading a boring task might be cause to rethink your to-do list. Everyone has something they don’t want to do because it’s boring, but if your boring task is your entire livelihood it’s probably time to outsource or switch career gears.
Email and phone calls can be a way for you to take on other people’s priorities. Of course there are important and necessary last-minute tasks that originate with other people, but often we jump at the first hint of a request because it’s more fulfilling and straightforward than our own task list. Don’t bow down to every command of the inbox. Decide when to fulfill requests and move forward with your own stuff.
It’s quick and easy to brush the crumbs away on the sheets but it’s not a long-term solution. There’s no replacement for washing the sheets, and there’s nothing like working with a good coach or mentor to figure out systems and deal with mindset issues that keep you stuck.
In the meantime, try some quick fixes to get going again. And don’t eat crackers in bed.
Charlotte Siems is a happy wife and mom of twelve who is a speaker, author and coach. After losing 100 pounds with T-Tapp, she became a Master T-Tapp Trainer, sharing her encouraging story with people all over the world. She has built a successful online business and writes about family life and T-Tapp at www.ThisLovelyPlace.com
These tips were very helpful. I have gotten far too comfortable with undone items on my long to do list and this article helped me go the extra step.