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How to Get Things Done Even When You Don't Feel Like It

How to Get Things Done Even When You Don't Feel Like It

There's that unfinished project you have, the one whose due date is creeping up on you like a bad smell. There's also the customer whose call you should return because they're wasting your time with complaints. Hey, didn't you say that one of your New Year's resolutions was to get in shape?

Think about how much better you would feel if you could push yourself to comply with your responsibilities when you didn't feel like it. What about how much better off you'd be in every way, both emotionally and professionally?

The best part (and it is indeed very great news) is that with practice, you can improve your ability to avoid procrastination. The root cause of your procrastination should guide your choice of remedy:


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Reason #1 You're putting off doing something because you're nervous about doing a bad job

Solution: The answer is to shift our attention to "prevention."

One can approach any problem from two angles. You have the ability to complete a task if you view it as a means to an end - as a success or accomplishment. For example: "If I finish this project, my boss will be impressed" or "If I stick to my exercise routine, I'll look great."

Psychologists refer to this as a "promotion focus," and studies have shown that people are more productive when they are feeling enthusiastic and confident about their work. Doesn't that sound nice?

This is not the place to zero in if you are paralyzed by the fear that you will make a hash of the task at hand. Negative emotions, such as worry and uncertainty, reduce the drive to pursue promotional opportunities.


Reason #2 You are avoiding doing something because you don't "feel like it."

Solution: Like Spock, you must put logic before emotion. The two of them are impeding your progress.

Do give that some serious consideration; it's crucial. Without even realizing it, we've all come to believe that in order to be truly motivated and effective, we need a strong desire to act. A positive attitude and a desire to get things done are required.

Yes, you do need to be dedicated to your goals, whether they be to complete a project, improve your health, or wake up earlier in the morning. However, you do not need to actually want to carry it out.

The next time you sit there and decide not to do something because you don't feel like it, shift your mindset that you can force yourself to do it anyway. You are free to do whatever you like.


Reason #3 The task at hand is difficult, boring, or otherwise unappealing, so you are putting it off.

Solution: Apply the "if-then" method.

All too often, we try to overcome this challenge by promising ourselves, "Next time, I will force myself to begin working on this earlier." Obviously, if we had the resolve to do so, we wouldn't have put it on hold in the first place. According to research, people tend to put too much faith in their own self-control and expect it to get them out of sticky situations.

Planning out the steps necessary to finish a project using an if-then structure involves more than just figuring out what those steps are; it also involves deciding when and where you will start taking them.

Advice like "Follow your passion!" and "Stay positive!" may sound more appealing, but the article also suggests considering the consequences of failing, choosing to ignore your feelings, and participating in detailed planning. However, they have the distinct benefit of actually working, which is what you will be doing if you employ them.