My Strategy for Painful Tasks

You probably know this energizing feeling after completing a task that has been long overdue or postponed. I just have this as I finished something that was not my favorite kind of todo. Time to share my practice how to avoid such situations.

There are many practices out there, like GTD (Get Things Done) or the Eisenhower Method based 2×2 time management matrix. These are an inspiration, but procrastination has still been a thing for me. I generally hate the bad feeling increasing over the day or week that a pile of unsolved things creates.

I worked to get over that. I have created my own strategy over time. It works well for me, so I thought it’s worth sharing with you.


1. Tackle it immediately

First things first. Nothing feels as good as having finished a task first thing in the morning. My day can only get better!

2. Split it into smaller tasks

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. I then try to slice the elephant: I think about the steps necessary to achieve the task, create subtasks and work on them step by step.
This gives me a good feeling of accomplishing something. I make progress and this vitalizes enormously!

3. Repeat it more often

The more often I do something, the better I can lower the emotional barrier to start a task. I develop a routine which makes it fo through like a breeze.

4. Postpone it

This sounds very much like procrastination. But I don’t do it out of laziness, I do it very thoughtfully. There are tasks that might be rendered obsolete after a certain time. An upcoming meeting might give them a different twist.
It took me quite some time to wisely choose this option. And sometimes I’m still wrong with it. Then I regret I didn’t pick 1. “Tackle it immediately”.

Reward Yourself!

Don’t forget: Reward yourself for completing your todos. Maintain that list, prioritize and at the end if the day GIVE YOURSELF A PAT ON THE BACK!

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