I’ve got a life hack / time management / motivational tip to help you get a little more done every week without dread.
This approach works for cleaning, organizing, and any task you need to do on your way to a goal. I figured it out at the gym one day when I was trying to increase the amount of exercise I was doing on the elliptical machine (yuck!).
There are 3 numbers on the display that could all be my finish line – the distance, the calories burned, and the length of time.
I made it to my usual 25 minutes and as always, was more than ready to stop, but I noticed the distance was at something like 1.95. So I impulsively decided to keep going a little bit further until I made it to 2 miles.
Then, when I hit 2 miles, I noticed the calories were up to 190, so why not keep going a tiny bit further to get those to 200?
I did that, and then the time was 34 minutes, so why not go until 35?
Of course, this cycle could go forever, but I was thrilled that the extra 10 minutes passed so quickly because I was hitting little milestones along the way.
If I had aimed for 35 at the beginning, my attitude would have been different and the last ten minutes would have felt like FOREVER.
It made me realize that I can use the same technique of pushing the finish line out as I go with tasks around the house as well.
Now if I’m dreading a task, I make sure to set a small goal first.
If the whole kitchen is a mess, I’ll tell myself I just need to get the dishes done.
But then as I’m wrapping up the dishes, I’ll look around and see if there is another small interval on the way to a perfectly clean kitchen.
Maybe I can just clear any clutter from the island now? And with that done, it would only take a second if I go ahead and wipe down the counters as well.
Sometimes, getting the initial task done is the end of the game.
I don’t always have time or energy to add on just a little more and that’s okay too, I still got something done that I was avoiding because I was okay with starting small.
But most of the time, the first action swings my brain and body into doing mode and I can figure out how to move the finish line just a little bit further out before stopping.
The barrier to getting most things done is just the initial act of starting. We spend so much time avoiding tasks that could be finished if we would have initially jumped right in. For me, this happens most often when I think a task will take more than ten minutes. I could waste HOURS avoiding a 30 minute job.
Now, that I know that about myself, it’s much easier to break the job into the tiniest chunk so I’ll dive in sooner.
For example, I’m writing a book right now, and it would never get done if I just looked at the total number of words required. But it has been broken out into smaller sections of 200-500 words each, so it feels very doable.
Every time I’ve told myself I only need to finish once section, I end up on a roll and keep going. It’s magical!
Every extra minute of exercise, cleaning, or writing gets me closer to my big picture goals, and I’ll use any little mental tricks to help!
Do you do anything similar?