If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a big video game fan.
I have no problem with my love for video games, but because of how easy it is for me to turn on the xbox, or load a game up on my computer, I often sub-consciously use video games as a way of avoiding the important [scary] work that I know I need to do, but is challenging.
And because I often use video games as an avoidance mechanism, I tend to piss away the whole day on games, and then say, “well, it’s bedtime now, so I’ll have to just do this work another day!”
I recently found an excellent solution to this. When I look at my daily to-dos and find one of them triggering that fear response of, “I’d rather just play video games,” I make myself a deal.
Instead of saying, “I’m just gonna play games for 30 minutes, then I’ll work,” I instead do what my parents did with me when I was a kid, and I give myself an assignment that I must complete first.
What this does is puts me in “work mode” before I go play the games. Then, while I am gaming, my sub-conscious is working out a solution for the thing that scared me in first place!
Additionally, because I’ve already taken a step towards completing the productive task, my brain wants to “close that loop,” and I find myself not playing more than a game or two of Battlefield 3 before I’m back to work!
How this can help you
What’s your vice? We all have them, and sometimes we don’t even know they’re vices! Some of us have obvious vices – like me with my video games – but you might have some that are a little sneakier…
Here are a few examples of vices that can disguise themselves as necessary tasks:
- Checking email
- Social media
- Relaxing after getting off work
How you can put this to practice
There are 3 steps I follow to turn a vice into an incentive to get me on track.
1. Define the challenge.
Ask yourself, “What’s something that I know will move me forward, but I haven’t done yet?”
Whether you’ve been putting it off, or simply feel like you can’t do it yet because of external obstacles, it doesn’t matter. Just identify the task.
2. Uncover the excuse
Ask yourself, “What’s preventing me from moving forward with this now?”
And I mean literally RIGHT now.
You’re reading this blog post, so you obviously have some time available. 🙂
The most challenging excuses are the ones that you genuinely think are outside of your control. Sometimes it’s waiting for your geek to finish building your website, other times it’s getting your logo just right. Sometimes it can even be something as seemly insurmountable as not having legal permission to get started yet!
But 99% of the time, there’s something you can do to move forward – it just might not be the thing you originally planned.
- Not able to send traffic to your site yet because the squeeze page isn’t up? Start writing articles and blog posts that you can distribute around the web once it is.
- Product not yet approved in the marketplace? Work on your autoresponder sequence to better convert prospects and satisfy customers.
- Do you just really, REALLY wanna play video games? Fine, but do something to move forward first.
3. Make yourself a deal
As I am writing this post, I am putting off scary work, believe it or not. I’ve been working on a CSS training course, but have hit a point where I’m not yet finished, but don’t quite know how to proceed next. This is challenging and uncomfortable for me, so I naturally want to avoid it.
I notice the fearful part of me insisting that we play video games, and that’s fine. But before I can do that, I need to first outline the remainder of the course, and plan out the next module that I’m going to do. Then we can pwn n00bs in Battlefield. 😉
I recognize that the reason I am scared of my work is because I don’t know what to do next, and that by simply taking 15 minutes to plan, I can remove that fear. And then I don’t have any reason to put work off anymore, and don’t go down the rabbit hole of gaming until bed!
Now get going!
If you’re avoiding challenging work by reading blog posts, maybe that’s the vice you need to leverage! Go spend ten minutes planning your next step, come back and read a couple more blog posts, then jump on it!