Ever Experience Task Avoidance?

I have! As many of you know, I am in the process of writing my first book. Suffice to say, writing a book is not for the faint of heart; especially when you have 5 weekly blogs,  4 podcasts, 2 business articles, and 1 success story each month. Plus the many client responsibilities competing for attention!

Recently, I suffered from what I will call task avoidance. This happened when literally everything from unloading the dishwasher to watering the plants was more attractive and took precedence to what I perceived as this large, looming, vitally important task. I wanted to share just three tips which have helped me overcome this condition:

  1. If the task seems overwhelmingly large, don’t think about it as an ‘all or nothing’ project. This can lead to the ‘doing nothing’ approach! I suggest breaking it down into bite-size pieces. In my case, it may be writing just one page, one chapter or one story. I can’t tell you how many times this simple ‘gift of permission’ to just ‘do a little’ on the task has helped. Before you know it, you are making progress.

  2. Focusing on the ‘end game’ has also helped me. I try to envision the finished book. I know I will feel a sense of accomplishment, perhaps relief, and certainly excitement. This is the same whether the task is completing the dreaded expense reports, monthly invoicing, or final revisions of a client proposal. Envision being reimbursed, being paid for a job well-done, and winning a new client! It sounds simple; yet, we so often forget this when we are in the trenches slugging it out.

  3. Finally, we need to think about the time of day in which we are going to work and try limiting the time we will spend on certain tasks. We know our body clocks. Some of us work much better in the morning versus the afternoon. Be mindful of this. Choose the time of day when we are in peak energy to do the stuff we dread doing. It works. And the rest of the day we have a pep in our step because we have accomplished that most difficult hurdle. Also, try putting a bookend on the time we spend on the task otherwise, burnout is inevitable. In the same breath, we need to plan our use of time so that we are not down to the wire. This approach has really helped me in trying to meet all my writing goals. I try to get all my writing done in one-two days, so that the rest of my week may be 100% focused on my clients and their needs.  

Task avoidance can sink even the most well-intended ship. As Mark Twain has said: “The secret of getting ahead, is just getting started.” So, power through and before you know it, we will be sailing full steam ahead.