Do you spend more time talking about a task or job than what it takes to get it done? This is a sneaky way that people tend to waste time and procrastinate. It can seem like you are taking the first steps in being productive, but at the end of the day, you could’ve gotten a lot more done if you had just done it. In today’s episode, we are going to talk about how to identify whether or not talking about a task is keeping you from doing it and when you just need to get it done.
Having long discussions about a task that will take you a short time to complete just prolongs how much time that task actually took to get done. It can be easy to use conversation and ask questions as a way of putting off a job you don’t actually want to do. You end up reaching out to the client or someone else with a question and it buys you a few days to get it done. However, this just keeps you from producing and moving forward. It also causes the task to seem like a bigger deal than what it actually is to do it. Every time you hit a roadblock, it can make it even harder for you to sit down and knock the work out.
Ask Yourself These Questions if You Should Talk About It
This exercise is to help you get in the habit of evaluating whether or not you need to have a conversation before doing a task. Of course, there will be things you need to get clarity on, but a lot of times, you could probably get the work done without additional conversation.
To help you figure this out, ask yourself these questions:
1. Can I Easily Revise The Work?
Is this a task that will take me a long time to revise if I end up doing it wrong to begin with? If not, then just do it, even if you do it wrong, and get feedback from the client and revise it. Obviously, if you only get one shot at getting it right, then you will want to have as many discussions as needed before moving forward.
2. Do I Have Enough Information to Get Started?
Do you at least know the first step you need to take to get going, even if it means that you will need to ask questions after you get started. If you can at least begin working on the project with limited information, it will make it easier to come back to it if you have to stop and talk to a client. Also, if you get started on the process, it usually gives you more effective questions to ask about the project.
3. Will An Email Be Enough to Get Clarity?
Anytime you get on a call or have a meeting about a task, it is going to take longer. Sometimes, it is needed to have an actual conversation in order to get the clarity you need. But, a lot of times, you will be able to get by with just a quick email.
4. Do I Have a Mental Block on The Task?
If you already feel concerned about getting the task done or you are dealing with a mental block, then having a conversation can create a bigger spiral and greater block. If you realize you are avoiding the task, then do everything you can to get started without further talking.
How to Just Do It
A lot of people struggle with what I call “jumping off”. When I was growing up, we had a reel in the back yard that we could jump off of and grab a chin-up bar. It was scary to jump off the reel no matter how many times I did it. But, I kept pushing myself to just do it. “Jumping off” is hard to do on some tasks, no matter how many times you’ve done them. However, once you get your feet off the reel, the momentum will usually carry you to your goal.
Here are a few tips I have to just do it:
Do One Thing, No Matter How Small, To Get Started
We’ve lived in several houses, and we would have to paint the rooms in those houses. So, when I would start out painting a room, I’d run around as fast as I could and roll a little part of every wall that needed to be painted. Just getting some paint on a bare wall was all it took to keep me motivated to keep going when I wanted to stop.
No matter how small it is, just do one thing to get going on the task. If you need to write an email, but don’t know what to say, write the opening or closing. Even if it is just, “Hey so, and so, I hope you’re doing ok”. If you have to stick it in the draft and come back to it in a bit, that’s ok. When you re-open it, you’ll already have part of it started.
Give Yourself a Time Limit
When you have all day or week to do something, it’s really easy to set it aside and not put in the effort. Instead, give yourself a time limit to get it done. Don’t give yourself extra time, make it the bare minimum needed to do it. For example, when you get started on work the first thing in the morning, only give yourself until lunch to complete the task, or at least do one part of it.
Close Your Eyes and Visualize Doing The Task
Visualizing yourself doing something makes it so much easier to get started. If you need to mow the grass and you’re putting it off for some reason, close your eyes and visualize yourself getting the lawnmower, pushing it back and forth in the yard, stopping to pick up sticks, etc. Go through the process of what it takes to do the task, and now, you’ve already done it in your mind.
Be Willing to Submit Something That is Less Than Perfect
One of the reasons people struggle to get work done, is because they are worried it won’t be perfect or 100% correct. Tell yourself at the start of the task that it’s ok if you do something that turns out less than perfect. If you have to re-do something or re-work it, that’s ok. This will take a lot of pressure off of you. Done is better than perfect.
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Until next week, get out there and start breaking the mental chains that are keeping you from producing!