Getting Things Done

There are things on your d0-right-away list…checks to be written, calls to be made, a repair. You will probably be interested to know that the way in which you think about those tasks beforehand will do a lot to determine whether you take them on feeling capable and positive, or feeling burdened and negative. ┬áIn other words, the way in which you look ahead to what you’ve got to do will have an impact of your effectiveness when you do them. How can this be?

The usual way of considering what’s needing to be done involves telling yourself something about when you will do them, for example, “I’m going to do the laundry this afternoon.” That seems to be a positive assertion, but it contains an unstated negative one, namely, “…but I can’t do it right now, because…”

Since all we really know is what is happening in the present, and since we can’t know for sure what will happen in the future, this typical form of intention is actually putting out a negative statement, psychologically and spiritually: “I can’t do the laundry now.” This expression of limitation has a subtle but very real way of dragging you down.

Here’s another way of looking at this sequence. When you first bring the task to mind, you stir an interest in completing it, generating a positive affective state. But when that interest is interrupted by reality, the frustration of the energy that got started produces a negative affective state, one which will stay with you and will to some extent compromise your actual abilities.

Fortunately, there is a totally positive and empowering alternative to the usual approach to one’s tasks. When you consider the job ahead you can skip the self talk entirely and instead visualize yourself completing it and imagine yourself enjoying the moment. This only takes seconds. By bringing the desired state of affairs into your perceptual present, you will experience an immediate lift that will stay with you. The positive currents of pride and relief will actually enhance your abilities.

Longstanding mental habits, especially ones that are cultural norms, take months of conscious attention to change. By practicing this one consistently it can become your new norm, one that will work small wonders for you.

 

 

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