Blue Eyed Sun

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How to get things done when you don’t feel like it

Get Things Done When You Don't Feel Like ItDo you ever know that you need to do something and have huge resistance to doing it? It’s probably something you don’t really like doing right? Even though it has to be done, you will put it off, doing all manner of other things to avoid the task in hand.

Now I don’t know about you, but I am not a big fan of painting and decorating houses. Some people love it, but not me. I enjoy the job when it’s done and I love living in a house that is well looked after. The same is true of my house proud wife. This summer, whilst she was away for a few weeks, I decided to paint several rooms in our house. This is not DIY decorating post, but a DIY life hack you can use to get things done. To get my decorating done, when I didn’t feel like doing it, these are the steps I took:

Decide How Important the Job is

Does the job really need to be done? We can talk ourselves into believing something is more important than it actually is. Make sure you focus on the important things in your life.

In my case, three of the rooms had damage that needed repairing and two were rooms that my wife or I didn’t like the colour of. Whilst we could live in the house without taking care of these things, I know my wife feels better when a job that’s on her list is sorted. If my wife is happy, I’m happy. We also both like to live in a nice environment that isn't stressful. So it was important. I also decided that if the job was left any longer, other rooms might also need decorating and the whole task would become much more daunting.

Be Specific about the Task that needs doing and the Time needed

As three rooms needed repair, I decided to focus on painting and decorating three rooms in the three weeks of evenings and weekends I had available to me outside of work and other commitments. I aimed to paint the walls in emulsion and then the windows, doors and skirting in satin white. My wife loves environmentally friendly Earthborn paints so I ordered what I needed to do the three rooms. The task and time frame were specific and, to my mind, achievable.

Are You the One that Needs to Do this Job?

This is a really important question when doing any job you have resistance to. In my case I could have hired decorators to do the painting. However, I had some time available to me to do the painting as my wife was away. I also came to the conclusion that doing something that my wife really wanted, even though I didn’t enjoy doing it, would mean something special to both myself and my wife. I imagined us living in the space I had taken care of and seeing my wife’s smile at the work being done. For me, this meaning was a major motivating factor in deciding to do the job myself and in getting the job finished.

Find Ways of Making it Fun

If you don’t like a task, find a way of making the task pleasurable. If you don’t like exercise and want to lose weight or get fit then choose a sport you really enjoy. I love music, so I rigged up my stereo to play some of my favourite tunes as I decorated. I also thought about my wife and how pleased she would be when she returned. It turned out to be a nice way of feeling closer to her whilst she was physically away from me.

Break the Task down into Smaller Steps

As well as painting and dancing to my favourite tunes, I broke each room down into smaller steps and made a game of trying to complete the steps in certain time limits. For example, one step was to sand and prep each room with filler, etc. Another step was to paint the emulsion ‘outlines’ above the skirtings, around the doors and windows and then another step was to ‘colour in’ the rest of the walls and ceilings with a roller. After this I’d paint the skirting, windows and doors in the satin. Each room needed two coats of paint. As I tracked myself in the game I gained a sense of how long each type of job would take me as I went through the rooms. I also focussed on completing rooms as I went, even if I had started prepping another room.

Take the first Step

I have run four marathons to date and covered hundreds of miles in preparation. The hardest part of 6am training runs is getting from your bed to the other side of the front door. The first step is the most important. Even if you can’t make the job fun and you are the one that has to do it, take the first step. Once you have taken it you are on your way, come what may. I reminded myself of why I was decorating, pictured the job done in my mind, then picked up the brush and started.

Be Flexible and Adjust to the Lay of the Land

Sometimes things get worse before they get better. As good as it is to have a set plan in mind, your plan is distinct from reality. When I prepped a wall in one room the plaster fell to pieces and I decided that repairing it was best suited to a builder. I also found that the task took longer than I expected and by starting it I’d made a complete mess of the house. As I was committed to completing the project, and my wife was back in three weeks, I had to press on.

On the plus side, I found that I was enjoying making the house nicer for us all and getting quicker at the jobs. As it was a mess anyway I worked out that I might just be able to complete all five rooms. Usually this is a danger point and you have to be careful that you don’t bite off more than you can chew (at the start or half way through). Because I was getting more motivated and completing rooms as I went, I knew the worst that would happen would be one room might not be completely finished. I decided I was ok with that as four out of five rooms was better than having done none. Be realistic with yourself.

Reward yourself

My overall reward was seeing the job finished and the surprise on my wife’s face when she returned from her trip. I also set myself up with mini rewards as I went. At lunch I’d stop and call a friend for a chat or watch or read something to stimulate me in a way that I knew decorating wouldn’t. I also worked until I got too tired and made sure I rested well for the following day. If I over indulged or took too much time off I made up for it in the next session. This soon put me off distractions.

The Outcome

I managed to complete all five rooms before my wife returned, although it was very close and I had to juggle things to do so. It was worth it though. She was happy and says she feels lighter not having those jobs on her mind. We now have a lot less decorating to do on our house. I’m happy because she’s happy and I love living in a house we take care of.

I have also got better at the thing I don’t like doing. This makes it less of a big deal if I need to do it again in the future. You might find the same if you have been putting a job off for a while. Go through these simple steps and see how how you get on.

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