“I don’t want to!”
With a stamping of feet and a petulant look the child storms off, secretly smiling inside because he got out of it again. He’s happily playing with his toys and the task remains incomplete until the next time the demand comes.
Why would I let my kids get away with this behavior? I wouldn’t! I don’t let them bully or use crocodile tears to get out of doing something they need to get done.
But the child I’m talking about above is not my child. It’s me!
How in the world do I let the little child in me run the show? If there’s something I need/want/have to do, sometimes in my head I hear the voice, “I just don’t want to do that now! Aren’t there other things we could do?”
And yes, there are always other things to do. Especially playing with my toys: Facebook, Twitter, games, actual toys with my real kids. Everything is better than the work!
Truth is, I do get a lot done. But there are some aspects of running a business that don’t exactly “call” to me. Faced with those, anything seems better. “Hey! Better bathe the cat or trim my finger nails or… something that’s Not Accounting.”
I’ve spent a lot of time, thought, and conversation around this lately. One sort of scary revelation that I’ve had is that it might be all very simple. More simple than an evolved mind wants to face.
“JUST DO IT”
Nike has quite the perfect slogan. There really is none better.
You can always come up with reasons you don’t need to do something right now. There is always another thing that needs to get done, too.
Achieving your goals may be as simple as stop listening to the distractor in your head.
Here are the steps to get everything done:
List things you need/want to get done.
- Prioritize them
- Make a schedule and Stick to it.
- Finish within the time you’ve given yourself.
If you don’t finish, MOVE ON TO THE NEXT ITEM.
(Learn from your inexact estimation and estimate better next time.)
At the end of your day, if you haven’t finished some projects, put them in the schedule.
Some folks would say work late and finish up. And, while I often do this, I won’t recommend it. Draw some boundaries between your work and you’re non-work time or you’ll never get to feel “done for the day.”
I KNOW it’s not easy. I struggle with it, too. Your brain will constantly look for easier things to do, more fun things to do, ANYTHING to do but the task at hand. Say, “Thanks for sharing. Cool idea. We’ll schedule it for tomorrow.” Write it down as a note and get back to work.
It’s weird writing this because if you know me, you know I’m a laid-back sort. I know everything will work out and if I don’t get This or That done today, it’ll be OK. That is NOT the path to wild success.
“Everything will be OK” means nothing falls apart; nobody dies. But Success? That lies on the other side of the work.
I highly recommend “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. Even if you’re not a writer, the attitude and perspective of “Going Pro” can help you in your business and your life. Guaranteed!
You have something you want to get done. Your brain wants to do something else right now. Thanks, Brain! We’ll schedule your thing in for later. We’re doing This now.
There are a gajillion productivity systems. Don’t spend three weeks picking the best system. That’s just your brain tricking you into Not doing the work again.
Try this simple system above and see if it helps. Of course, it doesn’t cover every aspect of business and every option that might come up. Consider it training wheels. Getting your brain used to being told what to do and at what time. Maybe later you’ll want to try one of those more elaborate systems.
For now, let’s just get some work done!
(Remember to schedule in some free time or Random Work time, too.)
It may seem weird that I often talk about your brain talking to you as if you’re two people. And it kind of is. Your older, lizard brain that wants safety and comfort is always talking to your conscious brain, that wants success and thrills. It’s like having two people, that want different things, in your head.
You mostly hear the voice when you’re worried, anxious, or afraid. The first level of becoming successful is recognizing that voice, thanking it for the concern, and then moving forward.
The second level is realizing that your “safety brain” is talking to you ALL the time and making most of your decisions for you.
You just have to get better at hearing it. (I recommend one of my Fun & Fearless workshops)
If you don’t hear the conversation going on in your head, the voice of safety tells you to do something (or not do something as fits the situation) and you just DO WHAT IT SAYS.
You don’t get a conscious say in the matter. You don’t hear the conversation, only the resulting commands from your brain.
When you hear about communications, consider that the most important conversations in the whole world are going on in your head and you’re not hearing them!
Listen in. Get familiar with the voice. Get into the conversation.
Get Things Done!