Getting things done. Master the hardest part.

The hardest part of getting things done is…

First — Physical activity…

The hardest part of exercising?I find that it is this:

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Yes, putting on shoes, and some appropriate clothing.

The second hardest part?

Putting myself inside the front door of the gym, or taking those few steps out of the house to begin a walk.

Once I’m there, it’s relatively easy to keep going. It’s even quite easy to go further than intended.

You know how I get to these happy places? I tell myself that I only have to do 5 minutes. Even less if it’s a problem.

And what happens? After getting started, keeping going isn’t such an issue.

Does the same apply to work?

Well almost.

I find that self-directed work is one of the most difficult types of activity to be disciplined with.

Here’s a way to get started:

  • Feet — put them under the desk.
  • Bottom — ‘glue’ it to the seat, at least for 30 minutes.
  • Hands — place them on the keyboard.
  • Eyes — direct them to the screen.

So we are working? Not necessarily.

That screen can be tricky.

There are tabs. Those tabs can be open to social media, or email. In other words, there are distractions.

As well as the mantras that get us started “Put yourself in place” and “Just give it 5 minutes” we need to find a way to “Eliminate distractions.”

If those two words worked on their own, we’d be very productive. Somehow I feel that we need more — I certainly do.

Faced with all the distractions that the www can provide, I’ve found that these work. When I work, I use one or two of these tips to eliminate distractions:

  • Deciding not to be distracted is a key strategy.
  • Certain hours are work hours. Not negotiable. I try to behave exactly as if I was at work and there is a boss supervising me.
  • The Pomodoro Technique works well. In short, it involves working with supreme focus for a timed 25 minutes, followed by a timed 5 minute break. I play ‘working music’ as my timer. After four 25 minute sessions, take a longer break. Rinse and repeat the whole thing.
  • I can bribe myself with rewards. Non-food, inexpensive rewards are best.
  • Working in a coffee shop away from the distractions of home works brilliantly for me. I have a favorite shop, favorite chair, favorite order…
  • Blocking distracting sites during works sessions is useful.
  • Music playing through headphones is, for me, an effective way of zoning in on my world, and for work sessions, my world is the screen and my thoughts.
  • Finding the times of the day that are most conducive to certain types of work, and doing that type of work then is a good technique. For example, I’d be very reluctant to waste creative time because I know that there won’t be much of it later in the day when I’m tired.
  • If the work doesn’t require intense concentration, I might put on something entertaining in the background. As long as I’m working non-stop some less demanding tasks can be done this way.
  • An accountability buddy, or a self-evaluation might work. Buddies can be found on line if there is nobody available in real life.
  • There are more ‘stickability’ ideas here.

You might be able to apply some tips from that list when you are trying to get to work and eliminate distractions.