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How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want To
by Heidi Grant Halvorson | 12:00 PM February 14, 2014 There’s that pro e!t you’ve le"t on the ba!#burner $ the one %ith the deadline that’s &ro%in& un!o'"ortably near( )nd there’s the !lient %hose phone !all you really should return $ the one that does nothin& but !o'plain and eat up your valuable ti'e( *ait, %eren’t you &oin& to try to &o to the &y' 'ore o"ten this year+ ,an you i'a&ine ho% 'u!h less &uilt, stress, and "rustration you %ould "eel i" you !ould so'eho% ust 'a#e yoursel" do the thin&s you don’t %ant to do %hen you are a!tually supposed to do the'+ -ot to 'ention ho% 'u!h happier and 'ore e""e!tive you %ould be+ The &ood ne%s .and its very &ood ne%s/ is that you !an &et better about not puttin& thin&s o"", i" you use the ri&ht strate&y( Fi&urin& out %hi!h strate&y to use depends on %hy you are pro!rastinatin& in the "irst pla!e: Reason #1 You are putting something off e!ause "ou are afrai# "ou will s!rew it up$ 0olution: )dopt a 1prevention "o!us(2 There are t%o %ays to loo# at any tas#( 3ou !an do so'ethin& be!ause you see it as a %ay to end up better off than you are now $ as an a!hieve'ent or a!!o'plish'ent( )s in, if I complete this project successfully I will impress my boss, or if I work out regularly I will look amazing( Psy!holo&ists !all this a promotion fo!us $ and resear!h sho%s that %hen you have one, you are 'otivated by the thou&ht o" 'a#in& &ains, and %or# best %hen you "eel ea&er and opti'isti!( 0ounds &ood, doesn’t it+ *ell, i" you are a"raid you %ill s!re% up on the tas# in 4uestion, this is not the "o!us "or you( )n5iety and doubt under'ine pro'otion 'otivation, leavin& you less li#ely to ta#e any a!tion at all( *hat you need is a %ay o" loo#in& at %hat you need to do that isn’t under'ined by doubt $ ideally, one that thrives on it( *hen you have a pre%ention fo!us, instead o" thin#in& about ho%

re'e'ber that you don’t a!tually need to "eel li#e it( There is nothing stopping you& Reason #) You are putting something off e!ause it’s har#* oring* or otherwise unpleasant$ 0olution: >se i"6then plannin&( Too o"ten. and rely on it too o"ten to #eep the' out o" hot %ater( . and innovators have be!o'e so in part be!ause o" their relian!e on %or# routines that "or!ed the' to put in a !ertain nu'ber o" hours a day.lose’s observation that 18nspiration is "or a'ateurs( The rest o" us ust sho% up and &et to %or#(2 0o i" you are sittin& there. %e %ould never put it o"" in the "irst pla!e( 0tudies sho% that people routinely overesti'ate their !apa!ity "or sel"6!ontrol. hun&over/ they 'i&ht have "elt( :ur#e'an re'inds us o" reno%ned artist . %hi!h 8 des!ribe in 'y boo# Focus. on so'e level you need to be !o''itted to %hat you are doin& $ you need to %ant to see the pro e!t "inished. but there is probably no better %ay to &et over your an5iety about s!re%in& up than to &ive so'e serious thou&ht to all the dire !onse4uen!es o" doin& nothin& at all( Go on. or &et an earlier start to your day( :ut you don’t need to feel like doing it& 8n "a!t. or &et healthier. %hen %e say thin&s li#e 18 ust !an’t &et out o" bed early in the 'ornin&."eel li#e’ doin& so'ethin& in order to start doin& it+2 Thin# about that "or a 'inute. parti!ularly i" you are usually 'ore the pro'otion6'inded type. as :ur#e'an points out. s!are the pants o"" yoursel"( 8t "eels a%"ul. 'any o" the 'ost proli"i! artists. the "aster you are out o" the &ate( 8 #no% this doesn’t sound li#e a barrel o" lau&hs. 9liver :ur#e'an points out that 'u!h o" the ti'e. no 'atter ho% uninspired . su!!ess"ully !o'pletin& a pro e!t is a %ay to #eep your boss "ro' bein& an&ry or thin#in& less o" you( *or#in& out re&ularly is a %ay to not 1let yoursel" &o(2 7e!ades o" resear!h. but it %or#s( Reason #& You are putting something off e!ause "ou #on’t 'feel( like #oing it$ 0olution: Ma#e li#e 0po!# and i&nore your "eelin&s( They’re &ettin& in your %ay( 8n his e5!ellent boo# The Antidote !appiness for "eople #ho $an’t %tand "ositive Thinking. %riters. be!ause it’s really i'portant( 0o'e%here alon& the %ay. in 'any instan!es. you see the tas# as a %ay to hang on to what you’ve already got $ to avoid loss( For the prevention6"o!used. puttin& so'ethin& o"" be!ause you don’t "eel li#e it. 1*ho says you need to %ait until you . i" %e a!tually had the %illpo%er to do that. no one is tyin& you to your bed every 'ornin&( 8nti'idatin& boun!ers aren’t blo!#in& the entran!e to your &y'( Physi!ally. %e’ve all bou&ht into the idea $ %ithout !ons!iously reali<in& it $ that to be 'otivated and e""e!tive %e need to feel li#e %e %ant to ta#e a!tion( *e need to be ea&er to do so( 8 really don’t #no% %hy %e believe this. I will make myself start working on this sooner& 9" !ourse.you !an end up better o"".hu!# . it be!o'es !lear that the only %ay to &et out o" dan&er is to ta#e i''ediate a!tion( The 'ore %orried you are. %e try to solve this parti!ular proble' %ith sheer %ill: 'e(t time. be!ause it is 100= nonsense( 3es. 1 or 18 ust !an’t &et 'ysel" to e5er!ise. sho%s that prevention 'otivation is a!tually enhan!ed by an5iety about %hat 'i&ht &o %ron&( *hen you are "o!used on avoidin& loss.2 %hat %e really 'ean is that %e !an’t &et ourselves to feel li#e doin& these thin&s( )"ter all.or. nothin& is stoppin& you $ you ust don’t "eel li#e it( :ut as :ur#e'an as#s.

uest for a raise at our meeting. by ensurin& that you’ve 'ade the right de!ision %ay ahead o" the !riti!al 'o'ent( 8n "a!t.olu'bia >niversity :usiness 0!hool and author o" 'ine Things %uccessful "eople /o /ifferently and Focus 0se /ifferent #ays of %eeing the #orld to "ower Influence and %uccess( 7r( Halvorson is available "or spea#in& and trainin&( 0he’s on T%itter Ah&halvorson( . i&norin& your "eelin&s. Produ!tivity Hei#i +rant Hal%orson Heidi Grant Halvorson.or maybe I should do something else instead( 8t’s %hen %e deliberate that %illpo%er be!o'es ne!essary to 'a#e the tou&h !hoi!e( :ut i"6then plans dra'ati!ally redu!e the de'ands pla!ed on your %illpo%er. then I will bring it up again before the meeting ends& :y de!idin& in advan!e e(actly %hat you’re &oin& to do. if)then plannin& has been sho%n in over 200 studies to in!rease rates o" &oal attain'ent and produ!tivity by 200=6?00= on avera&e( 8 reali<e that the three strate&ies 8’' o""erin& you $ thin#in& about the !onse4uen!es o" "ailure. use if-then planning to &et the ob done( Ma#in& an if)then plan is 'ore than ust de!idin& %hat spe!i"i! steps you need to ta#e to !o'plete a pro e!t $ it’s also de!idin& where and when you %ill ta#e the'( If it is *pm. there’s no deliberatin& %hen the ti'e !o'es( -o do I really have to do this now+.enter at the . and en&a&in& in detailed plannin& $ don’t sound as "un as advi!e li#e 1Follo% your passion@2 or 10tay positive@2 :ut they have the de!ided advanta&e o" a!tually bein& effective . tedious. or other%ise a%"ul( 8nstead. as it happens. Ph(7( is asso!iate dire!tor "or the Motivation 0!ien!e .7o yoursel" a "avor. is e5a!tly %hat you’ll be i" you use the'( More blo& posts by Heidi Grant Halvorson More on: Mana&in& yoursel". and that it 'ay not al%ays be up to the !hallen&e o" &ettin& you to do thin&s you "ind di""i!ult. and e'bra!e the "a!t that your %illpo%er is li'ited. Motivation. then I will stop what I’m doing and start work on the report +ob asked for& If my boss doesn’t mention my re. or can this wait till later. %hi!h. and %hen and %here you’re &oin& to do it.

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