In a previous article on Timeboxing I wrote about how to use timeboxing to help you procrastinate less and get things done quicker. The way to make timeboxing work for the things that you really can’t seem to motivate yourself to do is to look at the reasons behind why you don’t want to do the task. I think, for me at least, the reason I put something off comes down to two things: the task is not seen as being fun and it is seen as taking too long to complete in comparison to the energy I have to put into it.
Timeboxing can help make tasks more fun and quicker. Your first step is to break down a large, seemingly insurmountable task into smaller bits. Break down the heck out of a task! I don’t care how ridiculous it may seem to keep making the actionable tasks you have even smaller and more minuscule. Do it! By leaving yourself with 100 mini-tasks instead of 1 giant project you have taken the level of perceived energy need to complete things down significantly. Think of breaking things down into mini-tasks much like the way enzymes lower the activation energy required for a chemical reaction to take place. At this point it should seem almost trivial to complete a task. There should be no grunting, groaning, or gnashing of the teeth when you do the mini-tasks.
If you have broken a project down into mini-tasks and, for some reason, you’re still not able to summon the motivation to do a task; just do what I do and bribe yourself. Yes, you must give yourself an incentive to finish a task. I love peanut butter, so I promise myself a mini-Reese’s peanut butter cup or a small spoonful of peanut butter if I get a particularly troublesome task done. It really works! Your mind wants the reward, and it will summon energy you didn’t think you had in order to get the reward. If you have a sweet tooth a little candy treat will go a long way! Often, I find that getting the first task done is enough to get the ball rolling and I can go on to finish the other tasks with out further need for more rewards.
That’s it for today. I need to get back to studying, but it’s okay since it not (as) painful thanks to timeboxing! :) Cheers!