I am asking myself how I got myself in this place. 4 written assignments that are 2 months overdue, 6 oral assignments, one is ready but hasn’t been submitted in 6 months! How? I think I am quite focused and organised. Today is a Monday, oral exam week! Woe unto me! I am currently planning on making a call to my supervisor at daybreak to defer my exam to next month while I sort myself out… I know I work better under pressure but this is pure fantastic madness!

I am a learning addict so I enjoy the process of self development, hopefully I will end up with a title before or after my name. At this rate though it might take me forever. What I dislike is the exam and assignment process, “Look I’m an audio-visual learner I know what I need to know already. Why do I need to answer questions on tape and on paper?” But life does not present itself that way… there is always time for testing where you need to prove yourself. Alas, here I am!

On this note I’d like to share with you ‘how you can make yourself do the things you do not want to do’, so that you don’t end up in the place I’m in this morning.

Here are some strategies that I’ve used(that I need to revisit):

  1. Put yourself in jail. If you’re working on something that’s going to take a long time, and you have the urge to try to rush, or to feel impatient, pretend you’re in jail. If you’re in jail, you have all the time in the world. You have no reason to hurry, no reason to cut corners or to try to do too many things at once. You can slow down, concentrate. You can take the time to get every single detail right.
  2. Ask for help. This is one of my most useful Secrets of Adulthood. Why is this so hard? I have no idea. But whenever I ask for help, I’m amazed at how much it…helps.
  3. Remember: most decisions don’t require extensive research. This is another important Secret of Adulthood. I often get paralyzed by my inability to make a decision, but by reminding myself that often, one choice just isn’t that much different from another choice, I can move on.
  4. Just do it. Don’t sit around dreading what you know you have to do, just do it and as soon as you begin, there will be positive momentum that is generated that you can build off of.
  5. Take a baby step. If you feel yourself dismayed at the prospect of the chain of awful tasks that you have to accomplish, just take one step today. Tomorrow, take the next step. The forward motion is encouraging, and before long, you’ll probably find yourself speeding toward completion.
  6. Do it first thing in the morning. The night before, vow to yourself to do the dreaded task. And the next day, at the first possible moment – as soon as you walk into work, or when the office opens, or whenever – just do it. Don’t allow yourself to reflect or procrastinate. This is particularly true of exercise. If you think you’ll be tempted to skip, try to work out in the morning.
  7. Protect yourself from interruption. How often have you finally steeled yourself to start some difficult project, only to be interrupted the minute you get going? This makes a hard task much harder. Carve out some time to work.
  8. Give yourself a reward for doing it. If you had to go on that undesired business trip, perhaps you take the next day off or treat yourself to something you don’t ordinarily get to do.
  9. Find something good about what you have to do. There is always something…you just have to honestly look.  If it will somehow serve a positive purpose in the future, focus on that.
  10. Think about other things that you actually like. You can borrow “feel good equity” from other things you are experiencing that make you happy.  Borrow some of that positive energy even if it is unrelated.
  11. No Sob Stories. Don’t complain about what you need to do to anyone else.  Try to always frame the situation in a positive manner when describing it to other people (i.e. I have to take a 5 hour flight, but at least I will get in some good reading time).  It is not going to help you to have a pity party and it certainly isn’t helpful to invite anyone else.
  12. Think about how great you will feel once you are done. It is amazing how good you feel when you have finally completed that one thing that has been weighing on your mind.  Look forward to having that feeling. (I am looking forward to getting an A+!)

NB: Pay attention to the amount of time you spend working on tasks you dislike. No one enjoys invasive medical tests, preparing tax returns or catching up with way overdue assignments, but if you feel like your life consists of nothing but going from one dreaded chore to the next, you should take note. Maybe you need to think about switching jobs, or delegating a particular chore to someone else, or paying someone to take care of a task that’s making you miserable.

I’m very good at making myself do things I don’t want to do (EXCEPT WHEN IT COMES TO ASSIGNMENTS), and while this is an enormous help in many situations, it has also allowed me to go down some dead ends in my career. The fact is, you’re unlikely to be happy or successful when every aspect of your life or job feels like a big drag. Don’t accuse yourself of being lazy or being a procrastinator, but ask – what’s making this so difficult? The fact that you’re finding it hard to make yourself do something is a sign that maybe you should be doing something else.

On the upside: novelty and challenge, as uncomfortable as they can be, DO bring happiness. The chore that feels onerous today may give you a huge boost of satisfaction tomorrow, when it’s behind you. Keep that in mind.


What are some other strategies that you’ve found useful in trying to get yourself to jump some hurdle?

Source: Blog

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