Getting Things You Hate Done Easily

04.12.2017 |

Episode #7 of the course How to be more productive by Dan Silvestre


Welcome back!

Yesterday, we talked about how the two-minute rule is a great hack you can use to stop procrastinating and start getting things done instead. Breaking the first barrier of getting started by working on it for just two minutes leads to working on the task for far longer than that.

But what about the things that you really hate doing?


Temptation Building

I recommend that you tempt yourself into those dreary tasks by pairing them with something we really enjoy. Research suggests that combining the things we want to do with the things we should do could be a nifty trick to tackling our goals. This simple hack is called “temptation bundling,” and it allows you to combine two different but complementary activities.

The key trick is to find tasks that complement each other. Maybe it’s discussing finances on a “date night” with your spouse. Or using a treadmill desk to exercise throughout the day without harming productivity. Temptation bundling achieves two goals at once:

• It reduces the time that you devote to your temptations by limiting the situations in which you’ll allow yourself to “indulge.”

• It increases the probability of doing things you hate, making it easier to adopt positive habits.


Building Your Own Strategy

It’s time to figure out your own temptation-bundling strategy.

Start by creating a two-column list:

1. On the left, write down the things you enjoy doing and the temptations you want to do.

2. On the right, list the tasks and behaviors you should be doing but often procrastinate on.

Write down as many as you can. The bigger your list, the easier it will be to link one thing you enjoy with something you should be doing. A few common examples:

• only get coffee outside the office while processing overdue work emails

• only watch your favorite show while working out at the gym

• only eat at your favorite restaurant when conducting your monthly meeting with a difficult colleague

Here is one way I use this simple hack. I hate running. I know it‘s great for your body, but I just couldn‘t bring myself to do it. Now I put my favorite playlist and listen to it only when running.

So, what tasks do you dread that you can pair with something you love? Hope this simple exercise helps you find a temptation bundle that works for you.

Tomorrow, we will talk about a trait that top performers in every field—CEOs, athletes, musicians, etc.—all have in common: consistency. It’s going to be a lesson about patterns. And we will talk about the simplest way to develop a habit. I learned it from Jerry Seinfeld.

To a Productive Day!



Recommended book

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey


Share with friends