When I have the time or inspiration, I’ll write several blogs in advance.  Often, I write them out of sequence on purpose.  Over the years I have found that it is daunting to have to write a full week’s worth of blogs at once, but if I do a Saturday and a Wednesday first then it somehow seems easier to fill in the one or two days in between.  Pretty soon, several sets of two have been strung together to complete the week.

I think I learned this trick when writing my dissertation.  My advisor had us write chapter 1 first (what the study is about), but then he instructed us to write chapter 3 next (the shortest chapter — methodology).  We skipped chapter 2 initially because it is the literature review (the longest, most boring and most time consuming chapter in the whole thing.)  Psyching ourselves out that we had chapters 1 and 3 done — two out of five, it somehow made back-filling chapter 2 seem possible.

Think about how you can play this mind game yourself.  If you do all the envelopes first for your Christmas cards, it is easier to sign the cards and see real progress.  If you do the dusting in all the rooms, the cleaning comes easier.  If you reconcile your expense report for Monday and Wednesday, Tuesday is more likely to get done too.

Chunking out the tasks and creating smaller intervals makes the work seem much more achievable than staring at one large task.  Can you create some stepping stones today to help you cross the pond?

— beth triplett


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