Remember when you were a kid and had to eat broccoli or lima beans or split-pea soup? The longer you stared at it the worse it looked. You would dread it. Usually it was cold by the time you got to it which made the taste even worse. It needs to be like ripping off a band-aid. You just gotta close your eyes and dig in so you get it done as quickly as possible.
Do the Longest Run First
If your fitness trainer said “okay today we’re going to run 10 miles, 5 miles, 3 miles and 2 mile… with a 5 minute break in between each. You hate running, so you figure, just do the one that’s least painful right up front. You start on the 2 mile run and it’s not bad. After your break, you go out for the 3 mile and you still feel ok. By the time you get to that 10 mile run, you’re physically drained and mentally exhausted. Invert the running, starting with the 10 mile run first, working your way down and everything is always easier than the previous thing you did.
Now apply that to you task list for the day. Do your worst task first. By “worst” I mean “most important,” and by “most important” I mean the task you’re most likely to procrastinate on. The deadline you’re dreading, the slides for the presentation you’re terrified of giving, the research you’re sure will turn up information you don’t want to know. Do it, before you do anything else, before you have time to think about it too much.
Your Brain Chemistry Changes
When you do something that you were dreading, your brain chemistry actually changes. It’s kind of like the high runners experience when finishing a long race. This is part physical but also part psychological and runners actually become addicted to this high. Not only does it change the chemistry of your brain, your mind actually gets stronger. Each time you do the biggest scariest task on your list, you make the other ones easier. You are creating neural-pathways that say “I can do this” rather than the “I struggle with this stuff” pathways you create when you look at that task and avoid it.
Call to Action
Look at your to do list today… what’s the toughest scariest thing on there?
To quote Nike “Just do it!” Do not analyze it, do not organize it, do not do anything but start on it.
Set yourself up to eat your frog tomorrow morning last thing before you leave the office tonight. Choose your task, and write it down on a piece of paper that you’ll see when you arrive back at your desk in the morning. If you can, gather together the material you’ll need to get it done and have that out, too.
Now as an adult you may enjoy to eating broccoli or lima beans or split-pea soup. Over time you learned how eat them to your taste. Even ripping off a band-aid does not hurt as much anymore.