Strategies that can help you stop avoiding the things you don’t want to do
Find something you want to do even less
This may seem perverse, but I use it often with some success. If there’s something you don’t want to do, look at your to do list and find something that looks worse. For example, like many educators, reviewing student work is not my favorite part of my role. So faced with a pile of student scripts I have to find something I like even less, say tidying up my office, and avoid doing that instead to get myself started on the marking.
Break down the task in smaller parts
The hardest part is getting started. Break down the overall task in smaller chunks. For example, faced with 100 student scripts, take them in groups of ten. Immediately, the task does not seem so impossible and each ten completed is a success.
If this is not enough, reward yourself at the end of each smaller block either with a treat (eg cup of coffee, chocolate cookie, or even a walk around the garden). Alternatively, alternate these smaller blocks of activity with tasks which are more appealing as your reward.
Set A Time Limit
Define when you will finish working on the task. This has two incentives. The first is that you can console yourself that by a certain time, you will be doing something that is more fun. More subtlety, you may find yourself working harder to complete the time by your allocated finish time to ensure that you don’t have to return to it another day. (This is effectively something you want to do less than what you are already doing)
Keep Focused On What Is Important
Most of the alternatives we find to avoid doing what we don’t want to do are urgent but not important. You can read more about the difference at http://www.brighthub.com/office/home/articles/23172.aspx.
Remember why what you are doing is important, or if it isn’t, maybe it is ok to avoid it.