Several years ago, a dear friend of mine in her 40s passed away. After her death, I took a walk with a mutual friend, and we realized that we had both been inspired to update our wills and advance directives.
Neither of us were particularly excited about doing this, but it felt important, so we came up with a plan to work on end-of-life planning for a minimum of 15 minutes before our weekly walks. This way, we were able to minimize the pain by taking care of it in small chunks, with the reward of social time immediately afterwards.
The tasks that we keep putting off take up mental space, which slowly drains us and keeps us from being present. Often we avoid these things because the thought of doing them is painful, but we don’t take into account the cost of not doing them.
The best strategy I’ve found to tackle tedious tasks is to work on them in small increments so that the pain gets spread out over time. If there’s something you’ve been putting off, look at what’s the minimum you can do on a regular basis that would feel satisfying, and how you can create a structure for it that minimizes willpower. This incremental approach works well for tasks like:
– overhauling your budget
– deep cleaning your space
– filing taxes
– organizing and decluttering
Habit stacking is a good strategy to minimize willpower (doing 10 pushups every day while you’re waiting for the coffee maker), as is external accountability (pay for a personal trainer or agree to meet a buddy at the gym twice a week). Scoring small wins toward a larger goal keeps you motivated, and over time you accomplish a lot more than you could have dreamed possible. 💫