Trick Yourself into Getting Things Done

Pumpkins on Porch ©Alyson B. Stanfield

If you’ve been procrastinating something, identify it. Give it a name.

After you’ve confessed, you can trick yourself into completing it. Here are some tricks that have worked for me.

TRICK – - – > Identify your motivation.
Why is this task on your list in the first place?

How will your life be better as a result of completing it? How will it bring you peace of mind?

TRICK – - – > Adjust your attitude.
Starting a task you don’t enjoy with a bad attitude is a recipe for failure.

Instead, look at it differently. If you don’t like packing and shipping artwork, think of it as preparing to share your art with many new people. Imagine their eyes as they connect to your art.

TRICK – - – > Take one step at a time.
“Redesign my website” sounds more than overwhelming.

Instead, focus on the first action required. Create a site layout, research designers, or write the text for your About page.

TRICK – - – > Block out time on your calendar.
Create time and space to get something done.

When you see the time scheduled on your calendar, remember that it’s a commitment you made to yourself. Don’t ignore the task just because you’d rather be doing something else. Remember your motive.

TRICK – - – > Set your timer.
Make a game of completing a task by promising to give it 15 or 30 minutes of your attention.

Work hard to beat the clock before time runs out. This creates momentum, so allow yourself the flexibility to keep going after the timer buzzes.

TRICK – - – > Get out.
Fresh scenery can provide a fresh perspective.

Sit down at a coffee shop to write your thank-you notes. Visit the library to research your next series instead of staying at your computer. Go to any other room in the house to journal in preparation for your artist statement.

Productivity is part of my Get Organized online class. A new session (fast-tracked for the holidays) begins November 30.

After you’ve tricked yourself and conquered your procrastination, give yourself a treat. How do you reward yourself?

Send to Kindle

11 comments to Trick Yourself into Getting Things Done

  • Sari Grove

    Honestly? I pay my rewards forward…I reward myself first, continually…Then, later, I feel like doing the hard jobs…

  • Thanks for the Tricks, Alyson! “Set your timer” is one I want to try.

    I also promise myself a reward after doing the difficult. Like if I devote Mon to the difficult, then I’ll be free to go out with friends on Fri. Guess that’s a trick-to-treat :)

    June

  • Thanks so much for this one. This is such hard task for me. I could just sit at my desk all day and be happy just creating art, but there is so much other stuff that has to get done. I do have a hard time getting things organized and prioritizing, and I do need r to get more art out there. I will definitely try this! Thanks again. Cheryl

  • Hi Alyson,
    Your website and blog are contain just the info and motivation and tools I have been searching for. I stumbled into my disorganized studio this morning and started blog surfing. When I got to your sites, my search stopped. I have taken notes and subscribed to your newsletter and blog and I feel like with your thoughts and tools I will be able to move forward to more productivity in my artwork. Your tone is very accessible and friendly and I appreciate that. Visit my blog sometime and leave a comment. May I post a link to your blog on my blog? I think it would help all my artist friends. http://www.barbararoth.blogspot.com Thanks, Barbara

  • Ruth Armitage

    Hi Alison,
    I love the trick yourself ploy and use it all the time. If I find myself avoiding a task, I often substitute another task that I have been putting off. For example, I don’t feel like doing my taxes so I clean the toilet instead. Then when I don’t feel like painting, I clean the toilet, or vice versa. Eventually everything gets done, and I feel like I have given myself a few breaks. Just telling myself I don’t have to do it takes some of the pressure off.

  • I love this post! Addresses obstacles I face on a repeated basis. Great solutions to staying focused and organized!

  • [...] you’re procrastinating, do you really need to do it? If Yes, then do it! Imagine how good it will [...]

  • [...] are you procrastinating? 

Is there a mental block and, if so, what is it related [...]