HOW TO START A DIFFICULT TASK
When you have difficulty starting a task, large or small, follow these steps:
1. Give yourself 5 minutes to start working on the task.
- Set a timer on your phone (or an alarm clock) for 5 minutes. You will allow yourself 5 minutes to do as much as you can.
- Turn off all distractions (notifications on your phone!)
- Work on the task for 5 minutes. Go as slowly as you need to.
- After 5 minutes, if you are able to keep working, then keep working.
- If 5 minutes are over and you did not complete anything, try step #2 or step #3.
2. Ask yourself: Do I have what I need to complete task?
- First, visualize yourself completing the task for at least 1 minute.
- Do I understand the directions? If not, re-read the directions or ask someone for help.
- Do I know how to complete the assignment? If not, ask someone for help.
- Do I have everything I need to complete it? Gather any items or resources you will need to complete the task at hand.
- If you have answered yes to the questions in #2, go back to step #1 and try again.
3. Ask yourself: How am I feeling?
- If you are TIRED, ask yourself if you are PHYSICALLY tired or MENTALLY tired.
- If PHYSICALLY tired, rest your body! Relax, take deep breaths, get some water or something to eat. Your body has no energy, let it recharge!
- If MENTALLY tired, rest your brain. Take a 20 minute power nap (do not sleep for more than one hour). Call a friend and talk about silly stuff
- If you are HUNGRY, get something to eat! Then go back to step #1.
- If you are EMOTIONAL, write down what is on your mind for 5-10 minutes. If you are able to resolve right away what if bothering you, then DO IT! If not, make a plan to take care of it. Then go back to step #1.
- If you are BORED, ask yourself what you would rather be doing. Do the activity for 5-10 minutes, then go back to step #1. You can reward yourself with this activity once you are done with your task.
4. If you tried steps #1, #2, & #3, and you were not able to get the task started, GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO TRY AGAIN LATER.
If you are able to complete your task successfully, give yourself a pat on the back! AIM FOR PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION!
Jazzmin Villanueva, Psy.D.