7 Top Tips for Getting the Tough Stuff Done

In Mindful Mondays we show up at the beginning of every week with the intention of actively creating the week ahead. We make plans and we choose a guiding principle to keep us grounded. We celebrate our joys and achievements and we wrestle with the stuff that gets in the way.

A couple of weeks ago someone asked how I handle that moment when you simply need to get something done, something tough, something you really don’t want to face or do. You know that thing – that thing you put on your list week after week after week but just never manage to tackle. We all have those things.

Every project, every dream, every life is rich with things to do. Some of those things are wonderful (like the joy of packaging up the #first100 yearbooks) and some, well, some are tough. When facing those tough tasks I think of the season of Journal Club when Horse was our animal guide. We quickly discovered that Horse was often very direct. If you were facing something challenging, Horse was likely to nudge you in the back with a clear message: “Get to it.”

But how do you get to it?

Here are my 7 Top Tips for Getting the Tough Stuff Done

1. Do Every Little Thing

In almost any situation there are lots of little and easy things you can do before you tackle the big one. You can find the phone number. You can print the application. You can turn on the computer. Any little thing related to the main task counts.

Taking care of the relevant little things is not avoidance or procrastination. It is the on ramp. It gives you the opportunity to build momentum, gain confidence and it makes the tough thing itself a little lighter because before you know it so much of the task is already done.

2. Make It Easier

Everything you can possibly do to make the task easier, do it. Ask for help. Get a friend to drive. Book it first thing in the morning. Get extra sleep. Break it into baby steps. Do anything and everything you can to make this tough task easier.

3. Envision Yourself on the Other Side

You’ve done tough stuff before. You know from experience how much better you will feel when you’ve got this done. Imagine yourself there, sleeping better, feeling freer, crossing this helluva to-do off your list.

4. Get It Over With

You’ve done every little thing. You’ve made it as easy as it can be. There’s only one thing left to do and that’s to get it done. Make it fast. Get it over with. End the cycle of worry and avoidance. It undermines your confidence and keeps you suffering. Now is the time to listen to Horse. Do it.

5. Rest and Recover

You did some heavy lifting there. Maybe it wasn’t as hard as you expected. Maybe it was harder. One thing is for sure it took a lot of effort on your part. Breathe. Nap. Take some quiet time. Let your energy find equilibrium again.

6. Acknowledge/Celebrate

Give yourself some kudos. That was a big deal. And, by the way, it doesn’t have to look like a big deal to anyone else. Only you know what it took to get that thing done – and you did it. Gold star for you! Do a happy dance. Have a hot chocolate. Play a song you love and look at the stars. You did good. Celebrate!

7. Remember

Don’t just go on to the next thing on your list. Take a moment to notice how it feels to get the tough stuff done. Feel it in your body. Notice the energy that’s been freed. Remember this for next time, the way it feels on the other side of tough. And remember too (because you have given yourself direct proof of this fact) that you, Jamie are capable of hard things.