We all hate feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks we need to do. It feels like everytime we complete one, two more appear. It can be really hard to face the reality of all the things we should be doing (and should have done before in some cases) without feeling stressed as hell. No wonder why our mind decides to just relax (procrastinate) for a couple of minutes. But the problem is that those few minutes you decided to take, become 2 hours of binge watching some videos on YouTube that are not really that entertaining to you. Why? Because you hate feeling stressed. You’d rather waste time doing some boring activity that will not do any good for you than to put in the work to achieve a goal you’ve been wanting to achieve for years now. There can be several reasons for this, but today I want to focus on one:
You have to many things to do and don’t know where to start
The reality is, having too many options can be a really difficult situation to deal with. It’s called choice paralysis and it’s a real thing. If we want to prevent it, you need to know exactly what you are going to do (and in what order) before you even take the first step, prioritization if you will. Here is the thing, I’m willing to bet that the majority of the items in your to-do list are not as crucial as you think they are, you haven’t really taken the time to sit down and go through each one, asking yourself, “what are the real consequences of me not doing this right now?”. If you are honest with yourself, you’ll find that only a couple of tasks are really crucial. If you apply the 80/20 rule to this process, you’ll notice that 20% of your tasks will achieve 80% of the results you want. This are your most important tasks and they should be dealt with immediately.
How to find your crucial tasks
Most of you already know what you should be doing, but put up a ton of excuses to not do it. To the ones that need a little bit more clarity, here are a couple of signs you should pay attention to in order to figure out what your most important work is.
A clear, direct way of knowing what you should be doing, is by looking at your fears. The task you fear the most, the one you avoid doing every time, that’s probably the one thing that would bring you the most results. Use your fears as a compass and face them already, don’t try to overcome them first because you won’t.
Number 1: This is a really useful tip I learned from Tim Ferriss. It consist on just asking yourself this question while looking at your to-do list, “Which one of these, if accomplished, would make everything else easier or irrelevant?” Whichever you decide, start with that. Don’t burn your willpower or “productive juice” on unimportant tasks
Number 2: Similar to number 1, figure out which task are you most likely to procrastinate on. Which task provokes more resistance in you? Between starting that big work project or doing the dishes, I’m guessing you already know which one of those would you waste more time avoiding doing.
Number 3: You should always prioritize your tasks. It’s very easy to feel productive when you complete a lot of tiny, insignificant tasks, but this is a form of procrastination as well, you are avoiding doing what you know you should be doing. What you do matters way more than how much you do, there’s no point in being busy just for the sake of being busy. You should also know that your willpower drains every day, and for some of us, it drains really fast, don’t waste it on things that are not important, use it exclusively for your most important tasks.
So what I want you to do right now, is to get a sheet of paper or your favorite app, write down your to-do list for the day or week, then prioritize that list and get to work on your most important task. If you’d like an extra level of accountability then you can comment below what your most important tasks are and we can all see and discuss them. Go, I’ll be waiting for your comment here, good luck.