Tackling tricky to-dos

Buster keeps his to-do list short.

Do you ever have something on your to-do list that you really want to do – deep in your heart you want to do it – you just know you do – yet day after day it doesn’t get done?  Something you value.  Something you know will make you feel great once it’s done.  Something that will benefit you, or someone else. Something that will make your heart feel warm and glow-y.

What the heck?  Why does it sit there, day after day? This task or project – this call to make, this card to send, this blog post to write (ahem!), this creative fun thing you’ve been dreaming of for weeks – why does it remain on your list – undone, un-checked-off?

Why would you not do it when you really want to?  What’s happening?

Well, perhaps you’ve made it so important in your mind that you’ve made it difficult to start and finish.  Or maybe it’s a task with too many steps – pick the right card, find a stamp, find the address, say the meaningful thing from your heart that you want to say (will you be able to express the contents of your heart clearly enough?), get it out to mail. . .  so it stays undone.

Or maybe it’s so easy you keep thinking you’ll do it later – it won’t take long to make that call, write that blog post – but then you wait and  it’s the wrong time in the zone you’re calling – it’s too early/too late, too close to tomorrow (as in midnight) – so you put it off one more day.

Maybe you finally do it.  And it FEELS SO GOOD to get it done.

So you ask yourself, “Why??  Why can’t I remember how fantastic it feels next time this situation happens? Why will I find myself in the exact same boat– at midnight, looking at a list of happy little tasks, none of which are that complicated, and none of which I did today? Why does my mind toss out the ‘doing it later will be fine’ line?  Why do I fall for it every time?  How do I ever change?

Hmm.  I can think of a couple of possibilities.

1. Recognize when your mind is lulling you into avoidance.  And when it does, really listen.  Sometimes your mind is making a solid point.  Sometimes you’ve really loaded up your list – sure they’re all cute little lovely tasks, but there are thirty of them!  Come on!  No wonder your mind is encouraging you to take a nap!

2. If it’s not because your to do list is overloaded (but I bet that’s the reason, I’m just saying) then picture how it’s going to feel when the task is done.  Put yourself there, in that brief Nirvana of glowy-heart-ness.  Then set your timer for five minutes and start.  Find the stamp, the address, the card.  Sit down to write.  By the time five minutes are up, you’ll be riding the momentum of doing.  You’ll easily finish the job now.  Congratulate yourself!  Pat yourself on the back!  And promise that you’ll give yourself no more than three other happy little to-do tasks today.  Not thirty.  After all, there’s have-to do things too – like taxes, job emails, whatever.  They gotta get done too – and if you’re also avoiding them, well– we’ll deal with that in another post!

Now go sit in the grass in the sunshine for a little while.  Buster would approve of that being on your to-do list…

5 thoughts on “Tackling tricky to-dos

  1. Pingback: Back to the everyday, and back to posting… | One Wild and Precious Life

  2. I have a couple of things on my to-do list that I keep thinking I really want to do, yet they don’t get done. I shall take a better look at why (or why not). Thank you. :)

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