I hate balancing my (dilapidated) checkbook.
I hate taking out the filthy garbage.
I hate waking up on drab Monday mornings.
Heck… there’s quite a lot of things I abhor, I might as well
crawl under a mossy rock and hibernate.
The problem is, the real world won’t forgive me for shying from obligations. And that leads to the big question:
How do you motivate yourself to obliterate your dull tasks?
Think of the many things you postpone doing–checking inventory, organizing your expenses, color coding your suits, typing up that report, sending mom a Hallmark card, washing the Doberman. That kind of thing.
Is there a secret to firing yourself up to get rid of the backlog cluttering your desk since 1992??
THE BIG SECRET
It isn’t such a secret, really. In fact, it was published on last Sunday’s broadsheet.The suggestion came from an 82 year old Ph.D:
*Avoid doing things you don’t enjoy doing. *
I almost dismissed the advice as plain inanity. Somehow, images of mortuary attendants abandoning their shifts, doctors leaving their surgery patients and soldiers deserting their posts didn’t seem quite right. There’d be chaos. (On the bright side, I can use it as an excuse to sleep through drab Monday mornings!)
But my brain whirred and I soon realized the utter beauty of the postulate. You can avoid doing things you don’t enjoy doing if–
YOU CAN GET A SYSTEM TO ACCOMPLISH IT FOR YOU
When I first launched a B2C shopping portal ten years ago, I found myself processing orders, following-up credit card transactions, shrink-wrapping items, shipping out the products and mailing thank you cards to my clients. This I balanced with my existing construction management business. All in all, that left me with 4
hours of sleep per day.
The money was good but the life was about as much fun as a slog through the mud.
Then I discovered the value of outsourcing to systems.
First thing was to offload the credit card processing to a well- known e-commerce solutions company. They gladly provided the processing of orders, fraud screening and chargeback management. From then on, I never swiped another card through the machine again.
I also hated accounting. Numbers and figures leapt at me like muggers with sharp knives and so I trashed my financial calculator and acquired the services of a book keeper. He now keeps tabs on receivables that’s due my way, taxes that can be delayed, and deadlines that can’t be sidelined.
Today, I pretty much show up at office by 2pm in the afternoon. With a SYSTEM, I avoided what I didn’t enjoy doing.
BUT WHAT IF YOU REALLY HAVE TO DO IT?
We all run into mandatory things which are important but can be as enjoyable as a tooth extraction. In fact, a molar extraction might just be one of them! How does one deal with these tasks that certainly don’t make you float with bliss?
I’ve dredged up a pretty effective list of tricks that stokes
your engine for action.
A. Get a handle on WHY you’re doing it in the first place. What will it accomplish? How will doing this make YOUR life better?
Okay, so doing the dishes right now doesn’t strike your fancy.But imagine what happens if you leave the dishwashing for the weekend when everything has piled up? Life certainly won’t be better on Saturday. I’m sure you’d rather be at the beach with your
For every undertaking, ask yourself how doing it makes YOUR life better. Remember the WIIFM or the “What’s In It For Me”
B. Cut down a task into manageable chunks. The enormity of the task will just melt away.
Let me ask you, how do you eat an elephant?
A bite at a time!!! It might take some weeks, but it SHALL be done. Last month, I was coaching someone on how to setup a business. In my country, you can’t just plunk down the cash and plunge headlong into any enterprise. There are business plans to make, permits to be
filed, people to be hired, and tasks to be delegated. . You need to plan your AGENDA, hence…
C. Whip up a detailed agenda. No, not on post-its that may be lost. A notebook would be great. Better yet, a Palm pilot with all the snazzy agenda tracking features. Palms even have alarms that make you guilty when you miss a deadline.
(and no, I’m not a Palm salesman)
D. Build up a state of motivation state & anchor it (check out for great stuff http://www.essential-skills.com on Artful Anchoring)
Each time I map out my agenda, I visualize what it will be like when I’ve zipped past the finish line. I literally imagine that I’m relishing the fruits of my effort in a really bright, really huge mental screen. It’s here that the magic begins; as I look into the future, imagining my task already accomplished, I’d start to wash over with warm feelings that I’m going to experience when I’ve actually done it. *I’ve given myself something to aim for. *
E. Okay, we’re nearly done now. In the previous step, you were imagining yourself enjoying the fruits of your effort from the first person perspective. Now, you are to step out of the picture and imagine looking AT YOURSELF from the third person point of view. See that big smile on your face. Watch yourself literally bask in the glow of accomplishment See yourself reaping the rewards from acting upon the job immediately. Do you see an image of yourself holding a briefcase of money?? Wow! Go for it!.
F. Reward yourself immensely.
A most important step! Be as generous to yourself as you can.
Recall the Pavlov dog experiment
(http://riri.essortment.com/pavlovdogs_oif.htm) ? The dogs were conditioned to drool whenever the dinner bell was rung because a reward (food) was waiting. It’s the story of classical conditioning.
Condition yourself for SUCCESS, Pavlov style, by compensating your efforts with something out of the ordinary. You’ll look forward to more challenging tasks in the future.
This is all useless theory unless your practice it. Get your lazy derriere off that couch, can the excuses, finish all those tasks that were due yesterday.