3 Things is a weekly series posted every Sunday that highlights three things you can do to overcome a challenge, enhance your productivity, and improve other aspects of your work and life. Each of the things also offers an app or product recommendation that can help you take action and move forward.
I'm a big believer in getting the stuff you don't to do out of the way before you tackle the stuff you really want to do. Why? Because I've found that the stuff you hate doing always finds a way to get in the way until it's done, weighing on your psyche and your willpower in the process. One of the things i've also discovered is that by tackling those things I build myself up for the good stuff, although I know for many others the opposite is true.
No matter what way you approach the stuff you really don't want to do, there will be times that the approach you takes needs a helping hand. That assistance can come through a shift in mindset, leveraging a tool or app, or simply figuring out if there's another way to push through and get that stuff done. So if you find yourself stuck on seeing these things through to completion, here are three things to do to get the stuff you hate doing...done.
1. The Pomodoro Technique
I'm not a huge fan of The Pomodoro Technique, but I'll often turn to it when I'm struggling with tasks I'm not a fan of doing. What I'll do is focus on one of the things I hate doing for the first pomodoro and then alternate to something I like doing until I've completed an entire cycle of four pomodoros. This allows me to focus on at least two of the tasks I'm loathe to work on and I counter-balance them with two tasks I enjoy working on.
App suggestion: 30/30 is a great app in that it is simple and scales pretty well, allowing you to use it for something like The Pomodoro Technique or something more complex like a daily to-do list. Its use of colour is something I really appreciate as well. I've discussed how 30/30 fits into my productivity workflow before, and while I don't use it as often as I used to it is a nice tool to have in my toolbox when I need it. (iOS - Free)
2. Put It On Your Calendar
I'm also not a huge fan of using your calendar for anything that isn't a date-specific agreement (which I discuss in The NOW Year), but there are instances where I feel it can be beneficial. One of these instances is working on tasks that I'm not fond of doing but know need to be done on a regular basis. Exercise would be one of these tasks. I schedule exercise as opposed to putting it in Todoist because it stands out on my calendar as an agreement I've made with myself. It acts as a trigger in that regard, and by completing this task at a scheduled time and date it not only gives it a better shot of getting done consistently but eventually can remove the negative feelings toward the task.
Service suggestion: Don't Break The Chain is a great methodology to also help you stick to something regularly — even the stuff you hate having to do regularly. The chain doesn't necessarily have to be something that relies on daily completion, either. A great tool to help you with this kind of tracking can be found online here. (Web - Free)
3. Outsource It
Right now i'm in the midst of my virtual assistant experiment, which has allowed me to outsource some of the tasks I simply don't like doing. My time and attention can be better spent on tasks I find enjoyable, and by outsourcing the less desirable tasks to an assistant, I'm freeing myself up to do the likeable stuff. And that means that the overall quality of my work improves as a result.
Service suggestion: If you're not able to go with a dedicated virtual assistant on an ongoing basis, then FancyHands might be worth exploring. The service allows you 5, 15, or 25 requests per month depending on the plan you choose, which is ideal to offload some of the stuff you're not fond of doing to someone that you don't mind paying to do it. ($25/$45/$65 per month)
Photo credit: atsoram via FreeImages