Before going to bed last night, I determined that today I was going to take care of a simple, but cumbersome, household chore that I had put off far too long. I started off my morning pretty early (considering it is a weekend) doing some reading. While I was thoroughly enjoying my book, that pesky chore kept nagging me. Finally I gave in, reluctantly set aside my book and pulled out the necessary equipment for my task and got after it. In no time, I was full-blast into the chore. I finished in less than thirty minutes, and from that chore, I moved quickly on to another one. I had built up some momentum, and my mind was in the housekeeping mode, so I knocked out several tasks in short order. In less than an hour, my house was cleaner, more orderly, and it smelled good too!
This is my standard operating procedure in lots of areas. First, I bargain with myself. It goes something like this: All I’m going to do is vacuum and then I can get back to my book. And I give myself permission to do just that. But more often than not, once I have the vacuuming done, I am primed to tackle something else—and then something else, and then something else.
I have learned to use this to my advantage. I’m not going to clean out the entire closet, I’m just going to spend ten minutes on it. I can work on it a little every day this week. So I begin—sometimes I even set a timer for ten minutes—and once I’m over that huge hump of just getting started, I’m usually gung ho from there.
This tactic doesn’t only work on housekeeping chores, but on exercise, making phone calls, blogging, running, and on and on my list could go. In fact, the just-get-started hack was my inspiration for declaring the 30-day challenge last month. And you know the rest of that story.
Is there a project that you have been putting off till the perfect time? Do you wait till the negative consequences will be substantial before you finally tackle a job? Have you ever tried a self-bargaining tactic like I describe?
If you have some pointers for tricking your self into getting more done, I’d love to hear it. Please leave me a comment.