Sometimes no matter what you do, you cannot seem to progress with a certain task. We know we need to complete it by the end of the day, but we feel great resistance and reluctance. This often happens to me when I need to write, formulate or create something.
Don’t fight it. Instead, work with three tasks simultaneously.
If you lose the energy and will to work with the task at hand, choose one of the other two to work on for as long as you feel inspired to do so. If you get tired of this task as well, move on to the third task.
Change your focus
No, this is not a question of multitasking. It is more like the moving stairs in a fun house at an amusement park. You know the stairs that are split in half where the left side moves up when the right one moves down. If you keep standing on one step while trying to climb the stairs, you will get nowhere. It is not until you get off the right step when it is at its “peak position” and get on the left step as it is on its way up, that you will eventually reach the top of the stairs.
- When you are working on a task that is not urgent, but still needs to be completed soon and it is neither progressing smoothly nor quickly, put it aside for a minute. Don’t put it aside completely, but just take a break.
- Pick two tasks from the to-do-list that you need to do sometime soon. These three tasks could for instance be three of the highest prioritized tasks from the list, meaning it does not matter what order you do them in.
- Start working on one of the two alternative tasks.
- If you feel the least reluctance, return to the first task or start working on the third task.
- If you should start to feel discouraged again, put this task aside and continue working with the one out of the two other tasks that you feel most inspired to work on.
- Before you know it you will have completed one of the tasks and only have two left.
The useful distraction
If you are working on three tasks simultaneously when things are moving slowly, you can allow yourself to get distracted since you are being distracted by another task that is also of value to you. I do not recommend that you always work in this way, since it can make you feel scattered and fragmented. But, when you are having a heavy day and nothing seems to get done, fragment your attention and work on different kinds of tasks instead of letting your attention drift to Facebook, another cup of coffee, checking out the online news or chatting with your colleague.
What’s your way?
How do you pull yourself out of a ditch when feeling reluctant while working on a task? Please write a comment and share your experiences.