There’s no trick. There’s no magic. It’s all hard and the only thing that gets me through is hard work.
The terrifying monster that wants to stop me from achieving anything appears as a sense of burden, a feeling that nothing is ever achievable. It shows me video footage of Sisyphus with my face superimposed on his body, and then it laughs at me.
I only have one defence against this beast: Planning.
Actually there are two defences. The other one is resignation. It’s a lot easier but much less satisfying.
Resignation doesn’t keep me alive. Planning does.
Here’s what I got out of reading Getting Things Done: Most tasks can be broken up into smaller tasks and it’s the thought of doing the many unidentified smaller tasks that are the initial barrier.
I keep a to-do list. I might talk about this on another occasion but it just needs to be mentioned now.
I used to put "do taxes" on my list and it would sit there for months and months. July would become October would become January. "Do taxes" would just stay on the list, mocking me.
The thing is, "do taxes" is not one task. It’s a whole bunch of tasks.
I have to reconcile all my bank accounts. I have to collect all my charity invoices. I have to find the dividend payment information from my shares. Do I know where my group certificate is?
These tiny little things cause me so much stress when combined, but individually they’re items that might take me between two minutes and an hour.
For the things like "reconcile my bank accounts" I’ll apply a 10 minute rule and get it done over a series of days because I don’t have time in any one day to do all of that but I will probably have 10 minutes here and there.
So, I break up tasks into smaller and more achievable subtasks. That makes it a little less daunting. More importantly, it makes it easier for me to start.
I call this planning.
I actually write these things down and then tick them off when they’re done.
There’s more to it, but let’s leave that to when I bore the shit out of you with my love of task lists.
This is part of my “Sharing” series, in which I talk about how I get through the day because it might help someone else. Maybe I should have called it “This is How I Grown-up”.