Do you find yourself regularly putting things off because the task you need to do seems so ‘mammoth’? We all have ‘mammoths’ in our lives, whether they are boring chores that overwhelm us, emotional baggage that holds us back or unrealised aspirations. If this all sounds familiar, don't worry because help is on its way.
This month sees the publication of expert coach Wendy Jago’s How to Manage Your Mammoth: The procrastinator’s guide to getting things done. Wendy is an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Master practitioner and qualified coach. She has worked with over fifty coachees within a leading firm of international bankers and provided both training and individual coaching for a leading firm in the soft drinks industry. Now, she is here to help you with her top tips and strategies for wrestling those daunting mammoths into submission.Today Wendy addresses 'choredom'.
If chores bore you, and boredom is a state of wishing you were somewhere else, no wonder you don't want to get started on anything you think of as a chore! Why not try these tips for changing your thinking so that you approach your chores differently and get them done quickly, freeing you up to do something fun with a friend or perhaps allowing yourself more time to realise that long-held ambition.
Repeat bookings: If your task crops up regularly (for example, filing, accounts, doing assignments, cleaning) you might want to assign the task to a designated time in the day or the week or month. I advised a self-employed bookkeeper I knew to create a daily routine for keeping his paperwork up to date. At the end of each day he collected all that day's paperwork, and, with a comforting and rewarding cuppa in hand as a reward, entered the figures on a spread sheet before relaxing for the evening. Booking in a regular slot to get rid of that boring chore can really work.
Saved by the bell: This is a good strategy for long or unavoidable stretches of choredom at home or work, and it also really helps children get their chores done. You need a timer (a watch or kitchen timer will do) and a reward that can be sandwiched with your task. Set the timer for twenty minutes and blast at your chore until the timer pings. Sigh with relief, set the timer again and wallow in your reward until the timer pings again. Force yourself to stop doing your chore or reward activity as soon as the timer goes. Enjoy the randomness of it! You can use this sandwich method for long or short periods of time, depending on how long you've got and how much stamina you (or others) have.
Sticky wicket: Instead of making a list of tasks (for example, for the house, for your office, for the garden), buy a sheet of peel-off sticky labels and write each task that needs doing on a separate label. Tape or tack the sheet in the kitchen or hallway, the office or the shed or garage where it will frequently catch your eye. Use odd bits of time and flashes of energy to attack any task that takes your fancy. Then peel off the corresponding label. It's amazing how incentivizing it can be to see the number of empty spaces increase.
Phrase it differently: Instead of writing a 'to-do' list, or even having one in your head, try having a 'Could I . . .?' list instead. Recent research has shown that people who use affirmations (for example, 'I will do this . . .') are less successful in achieving their aims than people who ask themselves whether they could do something. 'I will' and 'to-do list' implies you should, which for many of us kicks our teenage rebel into action. 'Could I . . .?' engages your sense of enquiry and gives a feeling of personal challenge that makes it more likely that you will try to push this particular personal boundary.
In Chapter 5 of How to Manage Your Mammoth, you will find more helpful strategies for managing choredom. Next week Wendy will be joining us to address some very common time-management problems.
How to Manage Your Mammoth is available from all good bookshops. This title is also available as an ebook so you can add it to your Sony ereader, Kindle, Kobo or iPad.
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