How to Do a Task You Don't Want to Do

How to Do a Task You Don’t Want to Do

We all have those tasks… No matter how much you know it needs to get done, it seems impossible to do. It’s not because you don’t know how to do it. You are just having a mental block when it comes to this particular task. You probably can’t even explain why exactly you have that block. It’s just there.

I found those mental blocks a lot in my personal life. Years ago, I used to go to yoga class daily, and I loved it. My mental health improved and I was so strong. But I just abruptly stopped being able to go. When I skipped one class, it just started adding up. I knew why it was hard to go back after a skipped class: The teacher would make a big deal about my absence, and I hate anything that makes a big deal about me (in person, please continue to make a big deal about me online). It just felt easier to skip, skip and skip again.

Thankfully, I had a health coach at the time, and she gave me a game plan for how to go back. It’s a game plan I now use every time I have trouble doing something.

Break the big task down

When I sat down and thought about it, there were a lot of tasks that had to be done for me to go to yoga. I had to go to bed early, get up early, get dressed, gather my yoga stuff, get into my car, drive my car, park, walk into the studio and finally take the class. It’s not as simple as going to yoga and taking a class at all. There is a whole process to it.

If you are finding a task is hard to get done, break it down into even tinier tasks. Seeing all of these tiny tasks listed out might immediately make it easier to do the whole thing, so you may not even need to go to next step.

Whereas your brain can’t always wrap itself around one big task, it can usually handle tiny tasks, and just listing them out can make it no big deal.

Make a goal

Did listing out the steps not help you get it all done? That’s more than okay. Now you have a plan, so the next logical step is making goals. This is all about putting each tiny task onto your schedule.

When I was going through it with yoga, my coach told me to make my goal for the next day to just do one task. So I went to bed early. If that felt good, I could do the next task on my list. It did, so I woke up early enough to go to yoga. But that was as far as I got that first day. I didn’t judge myself at all for this. My next goal was to get one step further on the list of tasks each day until I finally walked in and then took the yoga class. It only took a couple days. I focused on each task as it came and almost always did a little more than I had planned. I’ll totally admit to driving to the yoga studio and driving back home though.

With most business tasks, you don’t have to start from scratch every day to get to the end of the task, so it’s a bit easier. If you have some time, put one of your tiny tasks in the calendar every day. You can then decide if you want to go a little further every time you complete that tiny to-do. If you’re not so good at planning and are on deadline, I have had something on my calendar every hour or half hour before. Even in this case, you likely will exceed the goal you set for every hour or half hour.

But what if this isn’t working

Eventually, I found that I regularly had to start from scratch with yoga and that I continually had to overcome my mental blocks. My friend said to me, “What if you just don’t like this studio?” I replied how it was the best, and I had been super committed in the past. But looking at it again, I realized significant things had changed and it just wasn’t the same studio anymore. It wasn’t me. It was them. And it was time to move on.

If you’re continually starting from scratch with a task and trying to overcome those mental blocks every time, it’s time for some real talk. Can you offload it to someone else? Then you need to do that to prevent burnout. If it’s not, then you have to get to the root of the problem and deal with that directly. Otherwise, the mental exhaustion will wear on you and you won’t be able to do your other tasks effectively. Obviously you don’t want that happening.

Look, we all have these tasks. At least in my case, I have found working with the problem instead of against it is the only way to actually make progress. It’s not always perfect, but eventually you’ll get there if you’re continually working with it.

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