T0P 10: GSD or How To Get Shit Done!
written by Cameron Brtnik
OPD or Obsessive Procrastination Disorder has caused a slowing down of my life, and even a reversal at times. I feel so behind that forward is somehow backwards; it’s like I can never get ahead. I worry that I’ll never achieve anything in the future because I’m constantly living in the past, stuck in place like a snail’s race, a car in a traffic jam, an insignificant particle traveling through space and time… (okay I have no idea where I was going with that metaphor). Common sense says: “Always put the most important tasks at the the beginning of your to-do list.” I’ve also heard the opposite: “Do the easiest tasks first so you feel a sense of accomplishment.” But which is the right answer? Unfortunately like most conundrums, there is no magic bullet. Don’t fret – I’ve compiled a list of “tried and true guidelines” that will help you, too, to finally Get Shit Done!
Rules that have helped me Get Shit Done –
1 – The Two Minute Rule – Whatever can be done in two minutes, do it right away! This has helped me Get Shit Done more than any other technique on this list, so if you take anything away, it’s this. I get the thing done right away and feel good about my “mini achievement.” And most importantly, have not added to the pile of “things to do” like a perpetual game of Jenga.
2 – Hold Yourself Accountable – Find an Accountability Buddy – someone who will hold you accountable if you don’t finish the task on time. This “motivational coach” basically acts as a boss who expects the job done by an agreed upon deadline. They may even help you complete your task, which is okay – there’s no rulebook to completing something, only that you get it done!
3 – FOLD (Fear Of Letting someone Down) – Similar to having an Accountability Buddy, if you committed to completing a project for someone, especially a friend or colleague, FOLD or “the Fear Of Letting Someone Down” forces you to complete that task. But don’t take on more than you know you can handle as that can have counterproductive effects.
4 – Under Pressure: Positive Procrastination – The old “leave it to the last day” pressure tactic has worked miracles for me. Back in high school, I often left assignments till the morning of. But come the “day of reckoning,” I forced myself to get up early, crack down, and whip out some of my best work. *Note: I don’t recommend using this one too much as it can physically and mentally burn you out.
5 – Double-Down – Are you willing to put money on that? If there is a sum of money riding on the outcome, this is often a strong motivator in completing a task by the due date. Think about a game of Poker: how motivated are you when you’re not playing for money? Do you care if you win or lose? Now put five bucks on the game and see if you don’t care. Now raise a hundred.
6 – Check Please – Write the tasks on your To-do Lists next to a checkbox (I recommend using the Evernote app as it has great features and your notes save in the cloud…whatever that is). As you go through your list and check that shit off, it feels good. And at the end of the day, you can lay back and stare at all those checked boxes and bask in the glory of success.
7 – Copy & Paste – When you’re cringing at the thought of checking your email, here’s a psychological rouse I created that’s helped me: Copy and paste messages into another app like Word or Evernote, read and write your reply in the app, then copy and paste it back into your email. This seemingly pointless work-around has helped me get over what I call WAS or “Work Avoidance Syndrome.” Psychologically, like doing work at a cafe, it can make menial tasks easier to complete. Try it and see if it works for you!* (*or your money back guaranteed! Now please send me money.)
8 – Set A Schedule – Set up a recurrent schedule to force you to Get Shit Done! For example, if you want to send out an email every month, make a phone call once a week or a text once a day, setting up an “auto-schedule” gets rid of the all the stress. Think of your favourite Youtuber or podcaster. They post content monthly, weekly or even daily or risk losing their fanbase (not to mention their sponsors). I find it inspiring to listen to a comedian like Bill Burr who posts his podcast not once, but twice a week! And he’s a self-proclaimed lazy buffoon. Now do you feel lazy?
9 – Chill Out – Listen to a “chillout playlist” on your headphones or in the background while working. This will calm and relax you, and put you in the right headspace to focus on your work. I recommend throwing on some Lofi Chill or any “study playlist” on Spotify.
10 – Celebrate the Good Times – The relief you feel when you finally finish that long-lingering project will be like getting a monkey off your back. You’ll feel free from the self-imposed oppression and guilt of not getting shit done, which means it’s time to celebrate with a (insert favourite drink here), lay back and marvel at how smart you are. Now go out there and Get Shit Done!
***If you have any advice for how you “Get Shit Done” please leave a comment below or email me at email@example.com
and I’ll feature it my next Top Ten segment!
Cameron is a freelance writer based in Toronto, and practitioner of Getting Shit Done cbrtnik.com