Martina Jay

SCBI#66: How To Finally Get Things Done

Published 3 months ago • 7 min read

It’s half term here next week so that means a week of the kids being home. Any good ideas to keep siblings from arguing with each other? Sound proof boxes? Straight jackets? Sending one child in to work each day with daddy? 😝

In all seriousness though, I do love it when they’re home because soon enough, they won’t want to hang around with mummy anymore so I’m trying to soak it up while I can!

Enough about me. Let’s get to it!

Time and the Productivity Obsession

Productivity and getting things done is a big priority for many. The fact that our experience of this lifetime is finite is what gives meaning to time. If it went on forever and ever, we wouldn’t experience the overwhelm and the constant need to ‘get sh*t done’ because time wouldn’t be such a big deal. We’d have an infinite amount of it, after all!

But, for many people the fact that time is limited causes them a lot of stress, overwhelm, anxiety and frustration. The big kicker is when procrastination joins the party!

Because most of us have so many things we want to do in life yet we always feel we don’t have enough time, you’d think that would make us just get on with things and get them done as fast as possible. However, this is far from what actually happens in reality. Many of us put off the things we want to do most in life and then get annoyed because they’re not done.

Let’s see if you recognise yourself in any of these statements below:

➡️ you have a million and one projects on the go at any given time

➡️ you know you want to finish things but somehow you never seem to get around to actually finishing it

➡️ you get decision fatigue on what to do and so you often end up doing nothing

➡️ you want to do a particular thing but for some reason you seem to work on everything else but ‘that thing’ (procrastination at its best!)

➡️ you don’t know how to use your time to your advantage so you can get important things done

*and when I say important, I mean important and meaningful to YOU

If you resonate with any of these, then what I'm about to share is for you!

Reasons Why You Might Be Procrastinating and Not Getting Things Done

You have things you want to finish but you never seem to get there. Here are a few reasons why you might be doing that.

👉 You don’t know how to fit it in your timeframe so you don’t start it

👉 You worry you don’t know how to do it so you keep putting it off (self-doubt)

👉 You don’t actually want to do it so you actively avoid it by ‘procrastinating’ (you’re bored or uninspired)

👉 You’re afraid or anxious of the results so it’s better not to do it and avoid a possible ‘bad ending’

👉 You don’t think you’ll do it well and if it can’t be perfect then there’s not point in trying (perfectionism)

👉 You’re worried about what others will think

👉 You’re constantly distracted so you’re never focused on doing ‘the thing’

There could be plenty of reasons why you don’t do them but today isn’t about finding out the reason behind your behaviour but rather to give you a way to actually get the things that matter to you most done!

A Key To (Actually) Getting Things Done

While there are a million and one productivity hacks out there (feel free to Google it if you don’t believe me!) one of the key things that I believe stops people from completing things is options. Decision fatigue is real!

If each day you have a seemingly unlimited amount of things you want to do, it’s hard to stay focused on just a few. I know in my life there are so many things still on my bucket list and yet I never get around to them. I’ve done an unbelievable amount of other things but some of the most important things seem to still be on that list. Why?

A big part of that, I think, is because I have a choice of so many other things I can do and so my attention gets divided. (Hello procrastination!)

While productivity gurus might have a lot of different strategies to apply, today I’m going to give you one that I came across and totally resonated with. It makes a lot of sense, is easy to follow, simple to understand and I think you’ll love it – especially when you start to notice that you’re actually getting things done!

I heard of this while reading the book Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkerman and knew this was something that could help solve the problem of never completing things that actually matter.

Most people have so many things on the go which is a subconscious strategy to make us feel like we’re using our limited time wisely and that we have freedom. But doing all these things backfires because we hardly ever get them all done - or at least we don’t get the things done that we truly care about. We usually just end up bouncing around from one thing to the next in our attempt to do it all. This gives us the feeling of freedom to choose what we want to do and we feel ‘busy and productive’ because we’re doing so much (but we never actually finish them).

Something becomes tedious or difficult, and we just jump to a different project, telling ourselves that ‘we’ll come back to it later’. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we hardly ever do and this comes at the cost of hardly ever finishing anything important to us. Make sense? Can you relate?

What we need, what a key to getting things done is setting limits on what we allow ourselves to do.

A Simple Strategy to Avoid Procrastinating on Important Things

To get started, give yourself a clear limit of how many things you allow yourself to work on at any particular time. Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry, who came up with this strategy in the book Personal Kanban, suggest limiting yourself to three projects at a time.

They say that you must choose three things that are of utmost importance to you and that you actually want to get done. These three things become the only projects you can work on. Of course, normal day-to-day tasks like laundry, dishes, etc. don’t count. These aren’t ‘projects’ and are just daily life tasks. We are talking about the important and meaningful things you have been wanting to do but keep putting off for various reasons/excuses.

Maybe you will finally write that book. Or maybe you’ll put photos in the family photo album (am I showing my age by listing this as an option?😜). And maybe you’ve been meaning to paint the bedroom for the past two years because they’re still covered in crayon marks from when the kids were young!

It doesn’t matter how big or small – what matters is you’ve wanted to get it done and it yet it still remains undone. Well, now is your chance.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Choose three things/projects that are meaningful to you that you want to make sure get completed.
  2. You can ONLY work on these three projects for the time being. Any other tasks that come, you think of, or are asked of you will have to wait.
  3. The only way to add something new to the list is if you a) finish one of the three things and a space opens up, or b) you decide to abandon one of the three projects and no longer wish to accomplish it.

    *This can happen because we might change our mind about something and/or it loses its importance to us.
  4. Keep working on only these three projects at any point in your life whenever you can. If it helps, keep a list of other things that come up that you might want to tackle next BUT you are not allowed to actually do them until there is space on your list.

    Rinse & Repeat!

This is literally it.

Simplicity Is Key

It sounds so simple, right? But the key here is holding yourself accountable to sticking to the strategy. You create an alliance with yourself and promise that you can only work on those three things in your spare time. You will either get a move on it and actually get it done – because you don't have the option of choosing between a million other things – or you'll realise that it’s actually not that important to you and needn't be on any list! (Needn't. When's the last time you saw that written out?)

This strategy helps you to avoid that procrastination of switching between a million tasks and finally get them done. And it helps to decrease the amount of things you realise that are actually important and worth your time and effort.

One last important thing to remember is to take time when picking your three projects.

Which ones will have the greatest impact on your life?

Which ones will you actually have time to complete? (If you know a certain project will take a looooooong time, are you willing for that project to be on your list for a loooooon time at this point in your life? Or would you rather choose three other things that will take less time and you will be able to get them finished faster? There is no right or wrong answer here - only what you think is best for you and what will get you more motivated.

If having something on your list doesn’t motivate you to bite into it and do it, then don’t put it on your list.

So...what are your three projects or tasks that you will choose first? What are three things you’ve been wanting to get done but keep procrastinating on and putting off by switching to something else?

Declare them to yourself - and then STICK to them and allow yourself to only tackle these tasks until one of them is done and you can add another to your list. And enjoy the feeling you get when you finally can tick it off!

In Summary:

The small change → only allow yourself to work on three projects at a time in life, without the option of switching between a million other things

The big impact → you will have more focused energy, less distraction and you’ll actually get things done without all the procrastination tactics you’re used to

Half term, bring it on!

Martina x

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Martina Jay

Hypnotherapy & Empowerment | Mind, Body & Energy

So you want life to feel easier, more fulfilling and simply more enjoyable? You want to stop getting in your own way? You want to stop living your life according to other people's expectations and start discovering your own empowerment? Well, you've come to the right place! My newsletter, 'Small Changes, BIG Impact' is all about making life make more sense so that you can have a deeper sense of control within in. We know that life throws us curveballs sometimes but imagine being able to navigate the ups and the downs with more ease and confidence? Imagine feeling empowered, worthy and confident in who you are and what you are here to share? Allow me to help you on your healing journey through making small changes that create big impact. I show up in your inbox every Saturday morning at 9:55am BST. Never Spam, always insightful. | Certified Hypnotherapist | Master EFT/TFT Practitioner | Reiki Master | Master NLP Practitioner | Time Line Therapy Practitioner | Mum of Twins | Recovered People Pleaser | Former Perfectionist | Multi-passionate Manifesting Generator | Empowered Woman 💛

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