How to make yourself do something you don’t want to do

For some reason you just can’t get started. There’s that ‘thing’ you need to do, it’s a project or a phone call you’ve been putting off. So, here’s some strategies on how to motivate yourself to actually start the task, even when you don’t feel inspired by it.

Tell someone about it, to keep you accountable.

We can all make promises with ourselves that we don’t keep. Or we convince ourselves that this mundane enjoyable thing (like social media) will actually help us achieve this task in some way.

We can fool ourselves but it’s harder to fool someone else. Telling someone else about the task we need to complete is a great way to trap yourself into a task. Our peers are good at keeping us accountable, so share with them your intentions.

Make an appointment with yourself

We can fall into a habit of telling ourselves that we have plenty of time to complete a task and we’ll fit it in when we’ve got some spare time. Yet, we can easily fill our time with important things as they arise and then we wonder where the time has gone and why we haven’t been able to complete that task. Some of the most highly productive people block out time in the calendar for every task, including morning and evening routines. Try blocking out time for a few of the small tasks you need to complete. If you use a digital calendar, you can set the time as ‘free’ (should someone need to book urgent time with you) and you will be reminded of when the appointment is coming up. It’s like making an appointment with yourself…

Ration the task

Sometimes projects can seem huge, insurmountable, endless and mind-numbingly boring. Firstly break the task down into small achievable chunks and use the Pomodoro Technique to help you get through the chunks. The Pomodoro Technique is a method of disciplining yourself to work for short blocks of time. Try setting a timer for 20 minutes. Once you have completed the block of 20 minutes, reward yourself with a short burst of enjoyable distraction like cat videos on YouTube or Facebook scrolling.

Recruit a friend

Ask your friends to help you brainstorm the ideas or talk it through so that you gain greater clarity and perhaps re-inspire you. There’s no shame in turning to others for support. If you are getting stuck for ideas on something, you can flesh out ideas in Facebook groups as well. If you feel yourself getting stuck, seek ideas and solutions in our tribe of professional people in the Northern Territory:   or a tribe of Busy Working women Owning Their Lives. 

If you’d like advice on how you can better prioritise your time,

You can book a time to chat. My goal is not to sell but to always give value. Promise.

Time Management Quiz

Would you like to know your time management weakness? Take this quick quiz to find out what it is and what you need to do to fix it.

About the Author:

Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a Time Management Strategist & Stress Management Practitioner based in Alice Springs, Australia. She has spent over 20 years working in time precious and stressful industries such as film, hospitality and marketing. She has always had a burning passion for creating order and making sense of things. She is sought after like a beacon in a sea of chaos to provide professional development in the business environment through workshop training, coaching, mentoring, online training programs, webinars and as a guest speaker around Australia. Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships.