GETTING IT DONE: 3 TIPS FOR CRUSHING THE BIG TASKS
Every business owner has been there. Lists and lists of tasks that need doing, and the biggest, most important ones always seem to get shuffled to the bottom of the heap. It’s not intentional, it just seems that the busier we are, the more we procrastinate. According to author and psychiatrist Ned Hallowell, that’s exactly the case; “We procrastinate because we all have too much to do”. Although it seems counterintuitive, keeping busy with our day-to-day tasks is a common way to put off the bigger, scarier tasks that need doing. Often we do this because we’re uncertain of how to move forward, or simply dislike the task. So how do we break the cycle? Here are three tips to get you on the path to crushing those big tasks.
Spend five minutes on it
According to Forbes contributor Neil Patel, the best place to begin is with a small commitment. Five minutes seems inconsequential, but committing to work for five minutes on a project that you’ve been putting off can be just the thing to get you started. You can certainly accomplish some of your project in five minutes, and more than likely you’ll find yourself digging in for longer than you’d planned. Breaking big tasks down into chunks of time can help them seem more manageable and give you fewer reasons to put them off.
As much as technology can help us with productivity, it can also hinder our efforts. This is especially true of our phones. We check our phones anywhere from 85 to 150 times a day, and it's making it harder to accomplish our big tasks. According to a New York Times article by Bob Sullivan and Hugh Thompson, distraction actually makes us dumber. Case in point: phone notifications. According to the latest research, even the possibility of awaiting a call can drain your productivity and make you less likely to accomplish tasks well. What we think of as multitasking is actually just quickly switching between tasks, and it's effects on work flow can be devastating. Luckily, there's a simple solution: turn off your phone notifications. Disabling the constant pings and dings can help you dig in and get your work done.
The rewards system is a tried-and-true method of motivation, and can work as well now as it did when you were a kid. Whether you find something to look forward to at the end of a project or create your own rewards for completing a task, we all love a little incentive. Remember: the brain is wired to prefer short term rewards over delayed gratification, so celebrate the small successes (spend five minutes on that big task? Coffee break!). Treat yo'self, you deserve it!
Tackling the big tasks is difficult for the best of us, but with a few tips and a little perseverance you'll be well on your way to conquering those personal mountains and achieving small business success!