There are some tasks in our day-to-day life that we have to do even if we don’t want to. These are the tasks that are extremely important for our careers but duh! Perhaps, this is the reason why we often search on YouTube, for ‘how to be productive.’ Right?
Well, no matter how many YouTube videos you watch or productivity books you read, it all boils down to one thing – TAKING ACTION.
But the question is why do you and I find it so difficult to finish our tasks while it’s so easy to scroll social media?
Don’t worry! I have got you covered today. A few weeks ago, I was suffering from a similar situation. There are some tasks that I cannot avoid yet I used to procrastinate over those tasks because I simply don’t like doing them. And in the quest of finding a solution, I stumbled upon the book ‘Finish What You Start: The Art of Following Through, Taking Action, Executing, & Self-Discipline’ by Peter Hollins.
I am sure the name of the book reminds you of all the unfinished tasks of your life. Anyway, I am not your relative so my job isn’t to taunt you but to show you the right path. Shall we?
What’s the Book About?
‘Finish What You Start: The Art of Following Through, Taking Action, Executing, & Self-Discipline’, as the name suggests, is a book about how to take action on what you just PLAN to do. Too often, an idea comes to our mind, we get excited, and we plan everything about it but when it comes to taking action on the idea, we procrastinate. It can be due to the fear of failure or lack of inspiration.
Sometimes, we know how important a task is but somehow we never find enough willpower, discipline, or inspiration to get on to the task.
Finish What You Start by Peter Hollins suggests various techniques to stay productive and complete your tasks even if you don’t want to.
The Theme of the Book?
The theme of the book is based on following through. Following through is more like a four-step recipe for getting anything done.
What are the 4 steps?
Focus – If you don’t have focus then no matter how hard you work, you will never achieve the desired results. Without focus, you will lose sight of your mission and might even fall for short-term temptations. Having focus is extremely important to keep your mind on your goals and neglect the rest.
Self-Discipline – Self-discipline, is what enables you to get your head down and work when you need to, even if you don’t want to. It’s the ability to control yourself so that you retain focus on what needs to be done, despite the temptations and distractions you may encounter.
Action – Action, means prioritizing execution and simple motion. If you don’t take action then no matter how great your idea is or how much you plan stuff, you will never be successful.
Persistence – Finally, at the heart of following through is persistence. Persistence is firmly sticking to something for a prolonged period, even as you encounter things that try to unstick you. It’s what Indians say, a drop isn’t an ocean but every drop makes an ocean.
Now, all these 4 ingredients are important no matter what you want to achieve in your life. However, the question is still the same, HOW TO DO THE TASKS THAT YOU DON’T WANT TO?
Although, Finish what you start has several techniques that help a person stay productive but I found one of those techniques unique enough to answer this question.
In the further blog, I will tell you how I implemented this ONE technique from FINISH WHAT YOU START and how you can too to make your life 1% BETTER.
One Technique From Finish What You Start That Will Transform How You Work
So, where were we? Oh yes, we were discussing how to get the monotonous tasks done even if we don’t want to.
But let’s first discuss in short why you don’t want to do the monotonous tasks.
The reason why you don’t want to do some tasks is that they aren’t as enjoyable as you want them to be.
For example; Studying for exams is a monotonous task in comparison to scrolling through social media, right?
Hence, no matter how important it is to study, your brain will always find a way to seduce you into using social media. Am I right?
Now, the problem is studying is important to pass the exam yet you aren’t able to just sit and study for your exams. Why? Because your brain knows about all the other much more entertaining and enjoyable options available to you. Hence, even when you need to study, you will think about other things that you could have done.
Note: Studying, here was just an example. To you, it could be anything else like working on your side project, your office work, your assignment, or household chores like cleaning, cooking or anything else at all.
So, now that you know the reason behind not working on your goals, let’s see the solution to it.
In the bestselling book, Atomic habits by James Clear, the author says that if you want to achieve anything – any goal or habit, just attach a reward with it so that your brain forces you to do the tasks in the greed of getting the reward.
But wait, what if you promise yourself an exciting reward after work even though your brain doesn’t want to do the task?
For example; Let’s say you promise yourself that you will study for 2 hours and as a reward, you will get to use social media for 20 minutes. But what if you sit to study but are unable to? What if your brain starts playing tricks on you to use social media now and study later? What if you don’t enjoy your work?
The solution to this problem is addressed in Finish What You Start Book where the author says if you want to get anything done, use temptation building.
“Temptation building is when you combine an obligatory (and undesirable) task with an instantaneous reward. When you can bride yourself into working hard, suddenly finishing what you start isn’t a massive exercise in willpower-it’s the pursuit of something pleasurable, if only by association”-Finish What You Start by Peter Hollins
In simple words, if you could make an unpleasant task just pleasant enough by pairing it with something you enjoy, you will be able to do even the monotonous task with joy.
It’s like making uncomfortable tasks, comfortable and unpleasant tasks, pleasant.-Renuka
How did I Implement Temptation Building From Finish What You Start?
As I said, there are some tasks in my day-to-day life that I have to do. For example, I don’t like cooking at all but I live alone and I simply cannot eat outside every day. After reading about the temptation-building technique, I asked myself what is it that I enjoy doing but I don’t get the time for?
The answer came in seconds.
Just kidding. After a few trial and error of pairing, I realized that I love listening to 90’s songs but my schedule is so busy that I don’t get the chance to listen to my own voice let alone listen to music.
So, I took advantage and paired my playlist with cooking. Honestly speaking, it’s been 15 days since I am listening to songs along with cooking, and truth be told, I now enjoy cooking so much that I look forward to cooking (not to eat but to cook)
By making the unpleasant activity (cooking) pleasant (pairing it with songs), I now not only get my task done but I also enjoy the process so much that it is no longer feels like work.
I used a similar technique for another thing and that is learning Japanese. No, I haven’t learned Japanese yet. It is something that I always wanted to do. So, instead of thinking that ohh Japanese is so tough, I paired with mimicking myself while looking in the mirror. I started learning Japanese a few days ago only and now when I learn a word and speak it in front of the mirror, it kind of gives me a feeling of higher self-esteem. Hence, I now look forward to sitting and learning Japanese.
- More Focused
- More disciplined
- Happier and Satisfied as I was able to do everything that I ever wanted
- More Achievements
- Increased Self-Confidence as I was able to do everything that I promised myself
- No self-sabotaging and self-blaming
How You Can Implement Temptation Building?
If you also have a long list of tasks that are important for your growth but you don’t enjoy them then temptation building is the only technique that will help you get everything done with joy and fun.
Take one task from your day-to-day life that you have been putting off for a long time. Then ask yourself, How can I make this task more enjoyable and pleasant for me?
If you cannot come up with an answer, list down all the activities that you enjoy. It could be anything. And even if you cannot come up with a pleasant activity to pair with an unpleasant task then, you can even go on YouTube, Google, or Pinterest to search for how to make, let’s say, studying pleasant. (Search as per your needs)
Once you know how to transform an unpleasant activity into pleasant activity then you are all set to achieve what you always wanted to. No matter who you are, or what you want to achieve, this technique is going to work wonders for you. Just take this task as a challenge and take action on it for the next 21 days and I promise, you will be surprised by the results.
How to Overcome Challenges:
You are going to come across a few challenges as you implement temptation building so let’s see how you can overcome those challenges:
- 10-10-10 Rule: Often when we sit to work on our goals, short-term temptations like scrolling on social media, chatting with friends, or playing video games attract our attention and prevent us from focusing on our goals.
If you want to know how to control these temptations, follow the 10-10-10 principle which means think about how to let’s say scrolling social media will make you feel after 10 minutes, 10 hours, and 10 days.
10 minutes later, you might be feeling good, 10 hours later, you feel shame for not doing your tasks but 10 days later, you might feel angry, regretful, and frustrated about your decision of falling for those short-term temptations.
This technique is quite powerful as it forces you to think about your future self and to see how your actions are going to affect you in the future. If the results after 10 days are bad, then that will scare you and restrict you from going for these short-term temptations that aren’t good for your future.
- Specify Your Desire: I don’t want to give you any false hope and I don’t want you to believe in sudden miracles either. Hence, before you even start implementing temptation building, specify your desired outcome. I suggest you do not expect stars on the first day but your focus should rather be on just coming in peace with doing monotonous tasks. Your motive should be to just get monotonous tasks in your control rather than let them control you.
- Keep a Scoreboard: As you implement that one unpleasant task with the help of temptation building, I want you to keep a scoreboard as that will help you to track your results every single day. When you keep the data of your daily progress, you will get to know if you are in the right direction or not.
Besides, if you are in the right direction with constant progress, you will feel proud of yourself every time you record your progress on the scoreboard. And you can also celebrate your small wins by taking out yourself for a coffee, movie, or anything that you think you deserve.
Here is a scoreboard for you:
The habit of maintaining a scoreboard, tracking your progress, and celebrating every small win will make you ADDICTED to self-growth. Trust me, this addiction to self-growth is way stronger than any drug.
Should You Read ‘Finish What You Start: The Art of Following Through, Taking Action, Executing, & Self-Discipline’ by Peter Hollins?
Honestly, if you can take the challenge that I have given you, you wouldn’t need to read the book. There are way too many techniques to stay productive to remember even one for a longer period of time. Most techniques are generic and can be found on YouTube as well so I suggest instead of investing your time in reading ‘Finish What You Start’ just to forget what you read, IMPLEMENT what I shared with you and your working style will transform, that’s a promise.