How to Get It Done – When You Don’t Want To

Written by Jan Ferrante

We all have them.

Days when we would just rather not.


What’s the best approach?


This one is good to use when you just can’t bear the thought of spending any more time or energy than is absolutely necessary on something that really needs to be done.

Here are the steps…

1. Set aside an allotted time that you will allow yourself to complete the entire task. For instance, if you want to sort a pile of paperwork, allow yourself the afternoon with a cut of time of 5:00.

2. Create a work space just for that task. A place that you can leave as is throughout the day as you progress through the task. This way you can pick up again exactly where you left off.

3. Do a little. You can structure this in two different ways. Using a timer set for 5 or 10 minutes at specific increments throughout the day. Or by making a deal with yourself that you will make it a priority to do what ever you have the gumption for as you please throughout the day, with the caveat that you DO work on it with the intention of finishing it up by 5:00, or what ever time works for you.

NOTE: you need the cut off or it will be too tempting to fluff it off unless it is an absolute must do. But don’t focus on the deadline or it will create tension. In this situation even that small amount of tension will take energy away from your ability to do the task. It may even set up a psychological barrier to getting it done. You know what happens when you ‘have to’. You want to be thinking ‘want to’, and of the benefits you will receive after you are finished.

You will surprise yourself as you dig in, often you will want to do more than you thought. It’s part of the power of getting started, often the biggest hurdle.

4. If you are nearing your deadline and still have a lot to do, reassess the situation. Do you truly need more time? If so, do what you can with an honest heave ho and set up the soonest possible time to finish up. A good general rule is not to pull out more than you can do in the first place if possible. So in this situation you may want to chunk the entire task into smaller, acheivable portions.


Put the pedal to the metal, buckle down and just do it. The good news will be that you will have already taken a good bite out of it.

The upside to this method is that you can get a lot done in short spurts that allow you to stop when you want. They really do add up. That goes a long way to getting started on tasks that you would rather put off until time immemorial.

The downside is that it drags on for most of the day. This isn’t a huge deal, but sometimes it’s nice to just get it done and over with.

So you might want to go for the second method.


Dive right in with everything you’ve got.

Here’s how…

1. Set your timer for a reasonable amount of time, but one that will challenge you to keep moving. Nothing worse than allowing lollygag time on a task you really don’t want to do. That’s a recipe for procrastination and inertia.

2. Get your target in your sights. Assess exactly what you want to get accomplished and take a minute to imagine how great it will be when it is finished. This will give you a better edge and a little more energy to get in there.

3. Contain the area. If possible, gather everything that you will need into one work area to cut down on wasted time running around or looking for things once you are in the flow.

4. Just do it. Dive in there, knowing that if you just apply yourself until the timer goes off, you will be home free.

NOTE: If you’ve given it your best shot but you are not finished when the timer goes off you can either set yourself up for another session at a later date, or just reset the timer and plow through. Your choice.

5. Treat yourself. Before you even start, it’s a good idea to decide on something good for later. It can something like a bit of time to yourself, or it can be a clean slate and fresh start to something that you would rather be doing. Everything is better with a clear mind and knowing that you’ve done what you need to do first.

Next time you’re having one of those days, or if you have something that you just don’t want to do, don’t wait until it becomes the monster in your closet, or in the middle of your livingroom.

Choose your method – Hunt and Peck or Make a Splash and get it done.

You’ll be glad you did.


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