How to Get Shit Done (When You Really Don't Want To)

Here's the thing: not all of us have endless amounts of energy or motivation or productivity.  And there are days when we can't even bring ourselves to fake it until we make it.  There are people like me who, honestly, have problems with energy, motivation, productivity, procrastination, and following through.  We would much rather relax and stay reserved, but that doesn't mean we don't still want the results that we believe we deserve.  We've got the ideas and we've got the intentions, but nothing ever comes out of them.

Okay, but how do we make that lifestyle work for us?

First, I want you to take a few minutes and answer these questions.  Write this down.  Pen and paper.
  1. On an average day, how much energy do you have?  Use a scale of 1-10 and explain why you chose that number.
  2. Of that energy, how much energy can you devote to things you desire or want to do versus things you have to do?  Use percentages.
  3. On an average day, how much time do you use for things you have to do, things you want to do, and rest?  Use percentages.
  4. How can you best use your energy and time to see results without draining your energy and time?  Write whatever comes to mind, without judgment.
Were you really honest with yourself?  If not, tear up that paper and start over.  You have to be honest and you have to really care.  Do you feel that you can devote more time and energy to things that you want to do?  If not, why not?  If so, how can you do that?  I want you to answer these questions simply so you can have a better understanding of yourself and your energy.

Now we're going to answer some more questions.  Again, be honest.
  1. Write down the areas of your life that you consider to be most important.  Under these areas, write down specific things that you want to put more attention to and things that you want to accomplish in each area.
  2. Now go through and number your top 5 priorities.  Don't do anything with them yet, just keep them in mind.  Consider your areas to be just one huge list that isn't separated.  You may have all 5 in one area of life, 1 in each area, or maybe 2 here and 3 there.  That's okay.
  3. Okay, grab three highlighters.  Use one color to highlight tasks that require low levels of energy, in relation to the others.  Do the same for medium levels of energy and the highest level of energy.  Again, these are just in the top 5 so the energy requirements are relative to each other!  After you've highlighted them, write a 1 next to low energy tasks, a 2 next to medium energy tasks, and a 3 next to high energy tasks.
  4. Now pick your pen back up.  Pick a symbol to represent a big time commitment, a symbol to represent a medium time commitment, and a symbol to represent a small time commitment.  You can even just use * for low, ** for medium, and *** for high.  Not all of your high energy tasks will also require big time commitments, although they might.  Again, write a 1 next to tasks that will require a small amount of time, a 2 next to average amounts of time, and 3 next to the biggest time commitment(s).
  5. Now add up those numbers that you put next to each task!  Then list your tasks from smallest number to largest number.  The smallest numbers represent the tasks that will require the least amount of time and energy, while the largest numbers represent the tasks that will require the most amount of time and energy.
You're thinking, "what the hell was the point of all of that?"  SO GLAD THAT YOU ASKED!

I want you to do those tasks in order.  Why?  Because there is research that shows that if you do easier tasks first, you'll feel more productive and motivated to do harder tasks.  Doing harder tasks first can actually lead to energy fatigue, but you're obviously welcome to do it this way if you prefer!  You can skip around if one is calling out to you more than the others.  Do these tasks at your own pace.  Do this whenever you're feeling drained, but really do want to get shit done.  This is a great example of prioritization and it's great for people like me who love lists and highlighters and getting shit done, but don't always feel like they have the time or energy.

Now go get some shit done at your own pace.  Remember, you don't have to go for the hard, energy-draining tasks first.  And if you don't want to do a damn thing, don't.

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