blocked her access to the Internet when
her tasks didn’t require being online.
2) She instituted an end-of-week check-in with her boss to inform him of the
progress she was making on current
projects. This accountability prompted
her to stay on track and start early
enough to meet deadlines. 3) The third
was establishing the habit of checking
her to-do list and calendar throughout
the day to avoid having things slip
through the cracks. When the thought of
looking at her calendar or lists started
to make her stressed, Alexia pulled up
her meditation video, so she could ease
herself into a new project early, instead
of putting it off.
It is easy to put off starting a task that
feels overwhelming or stressful, but taking the time to meditate or focus on our
breathing will provide us with motivation. It’s the best way I know to ease into
the tasks that I either don’t like or find
scary to do. A
SANDY MAYNARD, M.S., ; a pioneer in ADHD
coaching, has been working with clients in
the Washington, D.C., area for more than two
APPS AND VIDEOS
and;Breathing; , ;by;Zenco;Limited;;
( youtube.com/ watch?v=evJHBLldMsE )
HOW MANY TIMES A DAY DO YOU; try to work yourself up to tackle some undesirable task?
If you’re like me—several. Nothing is
more exhausting than the task that is
never started, so I’ve come up with some
tricks to prod myself to get moving:
1.;Put;yourself;in;jail.;If I feel pressure
to jump in and finish something in a
rush, and therefore can’t bear to start,
sometimes I pretend to put myself in
jail. If you’re in jail, you have all the time
in the world. There is no reason to hurry,
no reason to cut corners or to try to do
too many things at once. You can slow
down and concentrate.
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 have trouble getting started because I
don’t know exactly what to do, I ask for
help. I’m amazed at how much help I get.
3. Remember that most decisions
don’t require extensive research.
I often get paralyzed by my inability to
make a decision, but by reminding myself that, often, one choice just isn’t
much different from another choice, I
can get started. Also, I try to identify a
knowledgeable person, and follow whatever that person does.
4.;Take;a;baby;step. If you feel yourself
dismayed at the prospect of a 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 find
yourself speeding toward completion.
5.;Suffer;for;15;minutes. You can do any-
thing for 15 minutes, and 15 minutes, day
after day, adds up surprisingly fast. That’s
how I finally dug myself out of a crushing
(if virtual) load of digital pho-
tos. Fifteen minutes at a time.
6. Do it first thing in the
morning. The night before,
vow to do the dreaded task. Get
everything ready—any phone numbers
or information you need, files assembled, everything ready to go. And the
next day, at the first possible moment,
just do it. Don’t allow yourself to reflect
or procrastinate. This is particularly true
of exercise. If you’re tempted to skip, try
to work out in the morning.
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 harder.
Carve out time to work.
8.;Remember, work is;one;of;the;most
Pay attention to the amount of time you
spend working on tasks you dislike. If
you feel your life consists of going from
one dreaded chore to the next, you
might be better off figuring out a way to
avoid some tasks. The fact is, you’re un-
likely to be happy or successful when
every aspect of your life or job is a big
drag. Don’t accuse yourself of being lazy
or a procrastinator, but ask, “What’s
making this so difficult?”
On the other hand, novelty and chal-
lenge, as uncomfortable as they may be,
do bring happiness. The chore that feels
onerous today may give you a huge boost
of satisfaction tomorrow, when it’s behind
you. It’s good to keep that in mind. A
GRE TCHEN RUBIN is the author of the best-selling books Better Than Before, The Happiness
Project, and Happier at Home .
How to get things
done when you just
don’t feel like it.