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Conquer That Scary Task You've Been Avoiding

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Scary tasks are the ones we procrastinate about and avoid tackling for as long as humanly possible. Not surprisingly, neglecting these projects can produce constant stress that detracts from our overall productivity. When a project gains the upper hand, it can grow into a monster that overwhelms and paralyzes at the same time. Here are some of the different methods to confront these monsters head on and banish them.

Organize and Prioritize
Writing down the steps you have to take and organizing a giant task into smaller, digestible pieces can change your perception of it. Instead of seeing it as unwieldy, you recognize it as something to chip away at. Prioritize which parts of the project you need to work on first, then create a schedule and stick to it. Beware of procrastinating. As a Spanish Proverb says, "Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week." Getting started right away and keeping at a steady pace will rob the task of its power over you.

Create Accountability
Often, big projects drag on because they lack clearly defined, pressing deadlines. Creating accountability is a great way to hold yourself to deadlines. Tell people your plans to work on a project with specific details and deadlines for each step of the way. Determine your optimum productivity hours and devote them to the most challenging aspects of the project. Are you better toward the end of the workday when other people's energy is flagging? Or are you a morning person with your motor idling quickest after that first cup of coffee? Take advantage of this window of opportunity when you are at your most effective.

Make it Rewarding
Chipping away at your project has another positive effect - it breaks things into intervals so you can reward yourself when you meet a deadline. Sometimes telling someone about a goal or milestone you've reached is reward enough. Others respond better to tangible rewards like a nice meal out or a trip to the movies. As you make progress on your project, it's up to you to show yourself that you recognize and reward your own efforts. This way, you keep your monster project at bay, and spur yourself on every step of the way.

A well-known management principle is "You get what you reward." Good leaders recognize that when they provide a positive consequence (reward) for a job well done, they increase the chance of having the positive behavior increased. This same principle goes for rewarding yourself.


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