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You Absolutely Can Tackle the Big Things You've Been Avoiding : zen habits

You Absolutely Can Tackle the Big Things You've Been Avoiding : zen habits
By Leo Babauta What big task, project, chore, conversation have you been avoiding facing? It's one of the biggest problems in many people's lives - procrastination is one word for it, but I've found that "avoiding" is more accurate.


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Problems Due to Avoidance

If we have something we don't want to tackle or face, we keep ourselves busy and distracted so we can avoid it.

  • Avoiding self-care and exercise leads to long-term health problems.
  • Avoiding things that need to be done leads to stress.
  • Things left uncared for lead to those problems getting worse.
  • Our friends and family may think of us as unreliable.
  • We lose our self-trust.



Taking on What You’re Avoiding

The way to tackle the work that you have been avoiding:

  • Make a list of things you have been avoiding.
  • Pick one high-priority thing in the list, and plan to execute it, even if it's a small action.
  • Tackle your task as early as possible.
  • Feel the sensation of fear.
  • Take action.
  • Celebrate your courage.


A Transformed Life

Daily practice of something you are avoiding keeps you out of your comfort zone, makes you overcome your fears and helps you finally transform your life.



There isn’t enough time

Complaining that you don’t have enough time is not getting to the root problem. It may be that you’re lousy at time management. Admit to yourself that there is enough time -- you just don’t know how t...

A one size fits all solution

Instead of relying on a tool with all the bells and whistles, find out where you’re struggling and what’s essential for you. 

For example, if scheduling is taking you away from product development, then you could use a scheduling tool that uses machine learning to automate most of your scheduling needs. If you’re wasting too much time on email, then consider using a tool to help tame your inbox.

Less anxiety

Time management is only useful when you’re aware of your limitations and don't let the system dictate your entire life. 

In other words, when you don’t tread lightly (especially at first), time management can add more stress to your life.

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The biggest challenge to moving forward on anything

... is the transition to working on it. It almost always represents a shift from doing something comfortable to doing something uncomfortable.

We tend to think that getting tracti...

3 steps to transitioning

  • Start with willpower. Willpower in a moment is much more reliable than willpower over long stretches of time (In some cases you just need to force yourself through a moment to get to the other side).
  • Commit to repetition. Even if your mind starts protesting, ignore it and keep going.
  • Benefit from adaptability. The mental and physical challenges will be so diminished, that you'll no longer experienced the transition as pain.

Get good at moving from comfort to discomfort

  1. Identify something important to you that you want to move ahead with.
  2. Identify the transition point to working on it. Examples of transition points are: Pick up the phone and dial (for a conversation); ask a question and then stop talking (for receiving feedback).
  3. Make the decision — set a time and place where you will get started (transition).
  4. Prime your emotional courage. Starting something hard will bring up feelings of discomfort and you will need to be prepared to feel things to move through it without stopping. 
  5. Follow through without questioning
  6. Repeat this every day.

Our brains are programmed to procrastinate

It’s easier for our brains to process concrete and immediate outcomes rather than abstract and future things. So the short-term effort easily dominates the long-term upside in our minds— b...

To make the benefits of action feel bigger and more real:

  • Visualize how great it will be to get it done.
  • Pre-commit, publicly.
  • Confront the downside of inaction.

Considering the downside of putting a task off will help move forward with it

While we might weigh the pros and cons of doing something new, we far less often consider the pros and cons of not doing that thing. This often leads us to ignore some obvious benefits of getting stuff done.