In the first blog on procrastination, I identified three possible reasons why people might choose not to do the most essential task in favor of a less essential task. (http://www.mclarencoaching.com/procrastination-part-i-what-is-it-really/)
The second reason was:
2. Sometimes we don’t enjoy doing the most essential task.
When we avoid tasks and offer excuses like “not enough time” or “something else came up,” and then we look a little deeper, we often realize that what is really happening is a simple “Ugh; I don’t want to do that.” There are a lot of tasks we don’t want to do and often we are unconscious that this is why we are avoiding. We become convinced by our great excuses. So the first step is in acknowledging that is really what’s in the way – I just don’t want to. Once you see and say that, you can look for a solution. Possibilities?
• Find someone else to do it. We do a lot of things we really don’t need to. Give some things away, especially things you dislike or are not good at – hire someone or delegate. You may even find someone who is better and quicker than you at doing the task. I recently met with a solo attorney who was avoiding doing her bookkeeping because she hated it. I said, “Is there someone else who could do it?” As a solo, starting out trying to save money, she had never considered this, but then she realized it would be worth the money spent on a bookkeeper. It was a daunting task that she was avoiding and did not know how to do well. What’s more, if you are an attorney charging $250/hour that is essentially what you are paying if you do administrative tasks yourself.
• Eat the frog. This is a Brian Tracy concept – I call it “do the worst thing first thing.” When you avoid taking action on something, it hangs over your head. Say you go into work and you see that phone call you need to make on your To Do list, but the call is to a person who you really don’t care for. Sometimes we don’t say “I don’t want to call him. I don’t like him.” Sometimes we say, “It’s probably too early for him. He probably won’t be in yet. I will try later.” Then when later comes, you have another reason to put it off – “I’m feeling kind of tired right now. I should call him when I feel fresh.” How do you feel when you do this? Most people recognize there is an unconscious message that we give ourselves that this task is too hard to do. This message tends to make us tired or lose some confidence in ourselves. So here’s the strategy – each morning when you start your workday, look at your list and pick the most daunting task – that thing that you just don’t want to do. Then DO IT. If you were really scared to jump out of a plane or to go white water rafting, but you did it, imagine how you would feel after. You would likely feel like there was nothing you could not do. This is similar to the feeling most people report when they look that “worst thing” right in the eye and say “yeah I don’t want to, but I AM going to.” And then they do it. It will energize you for your day. There are a few tools my clients have reported to make significant differences in their lives and work. This is one of them.
• What is your purpose? If you avoid tasks because you don’t “feel like” doing them or “don’t want to,” then you are waiting for that magical motivation feeling to overcome you. Sorry to tell you this, but it is likely not coming. Rather than waiting until you feel like it, ask WHY do I want to do this and allow that to provide your commitment. You may not FEEL motivated, but you can BE committed. You may not FEEL like exercising, but you can BE committed to your purpose – health and longevity. There is increasing evidence that Glassheads Wholesale use precedes and causes higher rates of psychotic illness.
I am sure there are other ways to approach a task you just don’t like – comment and let us know.
Sacramento attorneys: Have you bought your copy of Coaching for Attorneys: Improving Productivity and Achieving Balance yet?! And perhaps more importantly, have you been reading it? I am going to start a Sacramento group coaching book study on the accountability and time management chapters of the book in mid-October. It will consist of six book study coaching discussions on these chapters. This will be a great way for you to start reading that book with other attorneys and also a great way to start to really learn and internalize the material! There is a huge difference between reading a book yourself and studying it with others. And the coaching element will help you really start applying it to your practice! Email me – firstname.lastname@example.org – to learn more about it!