How to get Those Stubborn Actions off your To-do List
We all have those tasks that sit on our to-do lists for far too long and sometimes they’re the quickest and easiest of jobs, but there’s something going on that means we put them off. Have you been rewriting it on your daily or monthly to-do list for months?
I’ve been thinkingy about why I put off certain things on my to do list and how I can question my to-do’s and make it easier to get them done. After quite a bit of digging and analysing, I've found some common reasons for putting off those to-do's that hangout on our to do lists for far to long.
How to get those tasks done that have been on your to-do list for far too long
Question why they’ve sat on your to-do list for so long
Identify an action that you’ve been meaning to get done for weeks, why is it still on your list? [TOUGH LOVE ALERT] Beware of telling yourself you don’t have enough time or you’re not ready - these are classic excuses that are covering up a deeper issue.
Don’t assume your first answer is the real answer! If your action is to write a blog post, you might think you’ve not had enough time, but keep question yourself and the real reason will be buried deeper. Maybe putting that blog post out there makes you feel vulnerable, maybe you feel overwhelmed by the task or perhaps it feels scary. Maybe it’s because your blog isn’t a priority right now. Get to the crux of the reason as to why you haven’t done the thing.
Question whether whether your fear is a legitimate if it is, how can you scale the idea back? If you're stalling because it'll push you outside of my comfort zone, you know it's just your fear holding you back.
AND Before you punish yourself…
Question - is this a priority? What impact will it have on your business and is the result worth your time. Often when we say ‘I don’t have time’ really what we mean is ‘it’s not a priority’ - do you see the difference? If the task in question isn't going to help to grow your business, make it more sustainable or allow you to live the lifestyle you want, strike it off! Feels good doesn't it?!
If your action survived the ‘should I be doing this’ test, here are some suggestions to help you get it done and off your list
If it’s too big
Break your task down into appetising chunks. This his probably one of the most important steps in making your ideas and projects a reality.
If it’s too scary
Set a timer for 15 minutes and force yourself to do the scary thing for just that amount of time. If it’s emailing people with a proposal just do it for 15 minutes if it’s making a call you feel awkward about, set your timer, jot down what you want to say and make that call! You can be vulnerable for just 15 minutes. You can!
If it’s too difficult
Work out what skills and support you need, is there a part of the task you can outsource to an expert?
If you’re not feeling motivated
We're all motivated in different ways, it’s helpful to understand what motivates you so that you can start to work out why you’re not excited about doing this task. Perhaps you need some external accountability. I like to motivate myself by telling my followers on social media that i’m going to have a blog post/ newsletter/ new product to share with them in a few days, that sure as hell puts a fire under me to make it happen.
If you need some support
If you have any other friends who are in business, can you team up and become accountability partners? Share what you’re planning to do and support each other along the way. If you’ve got a meaty project you need some help with delivering can you outsource part of it to a specialist or perhaps investing in mentoring is what you need to provide the level of support you’re looking for.
If it will take less than 2 minutes
Do it now! This is a well-known method and great for that feel-good factor when you can tick several jobs off your list.
The most important thing here is not to berate yourself for being ‘lazy’ or ‘useless’ because there’s always something deeper going on when it comes to struggling to get motivated or get actions of our to-do lists. Forgive yourself, understand that your productivity is not your worth and start to approach your to-do list with a fresh mind-set that’s focussed on A: crossing out anything that’s not a priority and B: figuring out what’s been holding you back with the remainder of your action and use the points above to help you get the wheels in motion again.