Sometimes I need to trick myself into getting things done.
In my last post I suggested that you identify your next right action, then do it. Seems obvious enough, yes? Yet many of us wait months before we finally clean out the closet, organize the studio, or start writing the book.
Here’s a trick: make it a game. Challenge yourself.
These are three
tools I use games I play when procrastination or resistance stop me from doing the things I want to do:
The 5-Day Challenge
This tool was born out of creative resistance. When my painting practice takes a back seat for too long, I challenge myself to show up at the art table and paint, five days in a row. It doesn’t matter for how long each day, and it doesn’t matter if I finish anything. It’s about showing up.
Want to eat healthier fare? Commit to eating your daily fruits & veggies, five days in a row. Resisting that novel? Show up at the keyboard five days in a row and write; forget word counts and perfect paragraphs. Craving more sleep? Go to bed one hour earlier, five days in a row.
Bonus points: Declare your intention to someone else and report back daily.
The 15-Minute Sprint
The 15-Minute Sprint is simple, yet effective: set a a timer and spend 15 minutes doing x, where x is writing, organizing your finances, researching your next project… whatever task is weighing on your mind.
It’s astonishing what you can achieve in just 15 focused minutes.
This game helped me transform my overflowing spice cupboard into a thing of glory in one, single round. It’s that powerful.
Bonus points: Combine the 15-Minute Sprint with the 5-Day Challenge. Pledge to dedicate at least fifteen focused minutes, five days in a row, working on your chosen task, and follow through.
Aptly named, this tool is best used with an expiration date or a specific state of completion. For example:
- “I will add one listing a day to the online shop until all my finished pieces are listed.”
- “I will build one page a day on my new website until I am ready to launch. I will be ready to launch when these five pages are complete: Blog, About, Contact, Shop, Resources.”
- “This week, I will clean one drawer or cupboard a day.”
You could simply commit to a new daily practice (“I will write one paragraph a day.”), but the danger there is that it’s too easy to fall off the wagon if you miss a day.
Sometimes it’s best to keep it neat, tidy and time-boxed. Set yourself up for success.
Three games, three effective ways to move through resistance and embrace momentum.
Are you ready to play?