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.
        1. 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!
        2. 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.