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How to Get Yourself to Do Things

Anxiety associated with obligations

It comes from a misapprehension of what it will actually be like to do the work. 

This anxiety is made of abstract, big-picture emotional concerns, about reputation, legacy, anxiety for the future, self-esteem, comparisons to others — worries about who you are, rather than what you’re doing.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Get Yourself to Do Things

How to Get Yourself to Do Things

https://www.raptitude.com/2015/03/how-to-get-yourself-to-do-things/

raptitude.com

5

Key Ideas

Treat tasks individually

What seems like a tangled cloud of open-ended old to-dos is actually a series of independent happenings, which are best treated individually.

Once you’re treating each obligation as separate from the whole bundle of “stuff to-do”, you can see that they each have a very predictable life cycle and it brings in the realm of the concrete.

The end of anxiety

The moment you start acting on something, you are at the beginning of the end of the anxiety associated with that thing.

Many procrastinators are pessimists and overestimate the difficulty of the task they are avoiding. They think doing it is the hard part. But not doing it is much harder.

Avoiding action

The moment you start avoiding action again, due to fear or aversion, you are re-entering a nonproductive phase. 

Physical action ceases, and pointless overthinking begins.

Anxiety associated with obligations

It comes from a misapprehension of what it will actually be like to do the work. 

This anxiety is made of abstract, big-picture emotional concerns, about reputation, legacy, anxiety for the future, self-esteem, comparisons to others — worries about who you are, rather than what you’re doing.

Finishing a task

You finish a thing by starting it until it’s done.

Finishing is only a matter of starting from where you are, as many times as you have to until it’s done. 

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  • Those who believe they can make things happen. They are convinced that the outcome of their lives and careers is more or less in their own hands
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When hard times strike

Those that feel they are in control over their lives also feel stress and anxiety, but they use this anxiety differently: their anxiety fuels passion instead of pity, drive in lieu of despair, and tenacity over trepidation.

Expect and prepare for change

Set aside some time regularly to create a list of important changes that you think could possibly happen. The purpose of this task is to open your mind to change and sharpen your ability to spot and respond to changes. 

Even if the events on your lists never happen, the practice of anticipating and preparing for change will give you a greater sense of command over your future.

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Write A Stop-Doing List

Remind yourself of items that don’t bring you joy, and contribute very little to your long-term goals.

This way, you’re unlikely to spend a lot of time doing time-sucking, non-rewardin...

Schedule Procrastination Breaks

During this allotted break, give yourself permission to do time-wasting activities (social media scrolling included) until you got bored and want to move on to your next task. 

Divide Your Day Into Themes

And if your job isn’t ideal for focusing on one thing per day, you can dedicate your morning to one focus area, your early afternoon to another, and late afternoon to another.

This way, instead of being overly restrictive about finishing a task in that time period, you have the flexibility to do any work that moves you forward in that particular focus area.

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Social Comparison Theory

Psychology Today describes social comparison theory as, "... determining our own social and personal self-worth based on how we stack up against others we perceive as somehow faring better or worse...

What Others Think of Us

As a human being interacting with other human beings, we learn that how we show up in the world seems to matter. 

If we have learned through our own social experiences that certain patterns of behavior, such as being extraordinarily busy and constantly on-the-go lead to being successful, connected and accepted by others, then we may find it appealing to engage in those behaviors.

Busy vs. Productive

Merriam-Webster defines the word productive as, "Yielding results, benefits or profits." Essentially, it means that we have something to show for our hard work. 

Being busy has to do with an amount of time, where productivity has more to do with our use of time.

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Reward yourself

Make sure to treat yourself to something you really enjoy, after you finish working on your tasks.

Giving yourself something to look forward to will motivate you to start working. And most ti...

Break down tasks

Big tasks tend to overwhelm and demotivate us. As a result, we often don’t bother getting starting on something we want to do.

So instead of having a number of large tasks to do or one big task, just set one small task for now. This will make your work seem more manageable.

A mental warm up

It can be difficult to go from waking up in the morning to getting yourself working right away. So give yourself a mental warm up exercise beforehand.

For example, try reading an interesting book that gets your brain going, write down your ideas or do some crossword/Sudoku puzzles.

Start with a clean plate

We have to take a step back on a regular basis and reevaluate what we have on our plate and why. 

Instead of thinking, “Oh my gosh, there’s too much on my plate!" ask, “...

Learn to say NO

Saying yes to everything puts you on the fast track to being miserable. Sometimes you have to set clear boundaries.

The alternative is that you’re going to do a half-hearted, poor job at each task, be stressed beyond belief, and feel like you’re stuck in an endless cycle of failure and frustration.  

Focus on 3 things every day
  • Wake up every morning and figure out what the most important 3 things are for the day, and cut out the rest. 
  • Address your other obligations right then and there, and tell the associated people that your plate is full. 
  • Instead of task-switching, give each task some allotted time.

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You can decide to do something without ever getting excited about it

You could choose to do something because it will:

  • Lower your anxiety.
  • Benefit someone who you care about.
  • Lead to financial gain.
  • Avoid a negative conseque...
When you have a low drive to move forward:
  • Put a low-frequency activity ahead of a high-frequency activity.
  • Give yourself a standard time and honor it: Block time for important activities.
  • Limit the time commitment: Work for 10 minutes a day on this task and then you can stop if you want to.
  • Set the bar low: Take just one action step a week on this activity.
  • Get ‘er done. If you want to get this entirely off your plate, set  aside a whole day to complete the task.

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Don't reinvent the wheel

Mimic and get help from someone who’s already learned it to get tips and save time.

In order to achieve mastery faster, our first step should be to consult the top players in the field and model the path they have already carved out for us.

Deconstruct the skill

...into its basic, fundamental components, to find the most important things to practice first. This shows that very few things actually make a difference in any aspect of our lives, including learning.

Use the Pareto Principle: which describes a goal of generating 80 percent of results by putting in 20 percent of the effort.

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17 hours of productivity weekly

People work an average of 45 hours a week; they consider about 17 of those hours to be unproductive.

Tim Ferriss's tips for productivity
  1. Manage your moods: If you start the day calm it's easy to get the right things done and focus.
  2. Don't check email in the morning.
  3. Before you try to do it faster, ask whether it should be done at all.
  4. Focus is nothing more than eliminating distractions.
  5. Have a personal system; most productive people have a routine.
  6. Define your goals for the day the night before.
Don't check emails in the morning

If you check your emails first thing in the morning, **you're setting yourself up to react.

You're not planning your day and prioritizing, you're giving your best hours to someone else's goals, not yours.

Plan the Rest of Your Day

When you don't feel like working on your tasks, take a few moments to plan your day.

Even if you do it as a form of procrastination, to postpone doing the actual work, it will help you...

Smaller Manageable Parts

Break the project you don't want to start into smaller pieces.

Breaking it down into small tasks and adding those to your to-do list isn't exactly fun, but it is less overwhelming than working. And it's also useful: When you finally do get around to starting, you've got a strategy.

Clean Something

Clean something every time you don't want to get started on a work project. Don't listen to a podcast or turn on the radio. Just clean. Make it as boring as possible, so that your mind wanders.

This does two things: it delays actually working on your project and it gives you time to think, possibly generating ideas that will come in handy whenever you get back to the project you're trying to put off. 

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Personal Mission Statement

It consists of thinking long and hard about your life and work. Write down everything that is on your mind, then consider what is most important.

  • You want to know where you want to go...
Acknowledging Progress

Progress can sometimes feel like endless staircases where you climb and climb, but can never see the end.

A personal mission statement allows you to look back and see how far you've climbed.

Putting Things Into Perspective

A personal mission statement reminds you where you're coming from and puts your life in perspective. When you feel frustrated, you can go back and read how much you've progressed over a specific time.

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