How To Do What You Do Not Want To Do

5 Ways to Get Better at Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do But Have to Do Anyway

There is a common misunderstanding that highly successful people only do things they want to do and the things they enjoy.

While doing only the things they enjoy may be the ideal scenario, the reality is they still have to do things they don’t necessary enjoy or want to, but have to.

Albert E. N. Gray, who wrote “The Common Denominator of Success,” said that successful people are successful because they form the habits of doing those things that failures don’t like to do.

Instead of focusing on what we don’t like about a particular task or activity, it’s more beneficial to turn it into a new habit so we don’t have to give a lot of conscious thought to it as we do it.

We all have things we’d prefer not to do and the longer we keep putting them off, the more likely we’ll start feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, unmotivated and unproductive.

The more things we can apply to make it easier for us to get these things done, the better state of mind we’ll be in and the better we’ll feel about ourselves.

Doing something you don't want to do

Most days, I battle with myself as I force myself to exercise. While exercising is not something I want to do every day, I know there will be a consequence if I don’t.

Having experienced the effects of not being healthy as a result of not exercising regularly, I know how important it is for me to do so if I want to achieve the things I want. The cost of not exercising is one thing that drives me to keep doing it.

The good thing is we don’t always have to use a consequence as a means to do things we don’t want to. There are other effective ways as well.

5 Ways to Do Things You Don’t Want to But Have to

  1. Make it a game. As kids, we loved playing games and it should not be any different as adults. Our brains enjoy novelty and we get a rush when we’re enjoying what we’re doing. Playing games can involve friendly competition and setting milestones or deadlines.
  2. Use effective task management practices. One way to ensure we get things done is to schedule them in our calendar. The better we plan our activities ahead of time, the easier it will be for us to actually do them. Another practice is to do things in batches, which means we do as many similar activities in a block of time. This will prevent us from doing tasks randomly.
  3. Set up progressive rewards. This is one of my favourite methods as I’m more driven by reward than consequence. After each segment of work, we can give ourselves appropriate rewards depending on what we got done. Sometimes a reward can be as simple as having a longer break or having something to eat.
  4. Find ways to automate tasks. Sometimes the things we don’t particularly like doing such as paying bills or responding to emails, can be automated. The more tasks we can automate, the more efficient we’ll be with our time, which means we’ll have more time to do the things we enjoy doing.
  5. Ask for help as required. The truth is we don’t always have to do the things we think we need to do. Sometimes we do them because we don’t believe we have other options. We may be concerned about the cost of asking others to help us out. Most times, the cost to get someone else to do a low value activity will be less than the cost of us doing it ourselves.

While it’s important to have ways to make ourselves do things we don’t want to do, we should always be looking for opportunities to delegate or outsource them to others so that we can spend more time doing the things we’re best at and are our highest value activities. Isn’t that what we really want? We want to do more of the things we enjoy and less of the things we don’t.

Action Step: Review the things you have been avoiding or not completing in a timely manner because you don’t want to do them. Choose one idea from the list above and apply it this week so that you can actually complete it. Then move on to the next thing you have been avoiding.

Question: What is another way to do the things we don’t want to do?

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