Happy Dollar Half-Hour

Let’s face it: Not all the things we need to do are equally fun for us. You may not particularly enjoy paying your bills or handling financials. You may hate tidying up your workspace. You may drag your feet on creating contracts.

These examples are, of course, picked out of the blue. None of them apply to me (wait, my nose seems to be growing…. a Pinocchio moment?)

Well, ok, I admit it: There are tasks I don’t particularly look forward to doing. Yes, it is great when you can delegate them. Or, maybe you can make them easier through the right processes or templates. Wonderful!

Yet, sometimes there are still things leftover that you have to bite the bullet and do them.

A Little Trick That Works So Well: Transform Your Life 20-30 Minutes at a Time

When I find myself procrastinating on such a task, I put 20 minutes onto my calendar. Or, I set a timer right now. For example, 20 minutes to tidy up my office. I figure I can stand doing it for that long. 20 minutes is not too bad.

Then one of two things happens:

  1. Either I start and get done what I can in 20 minutes. It can be surprising how much difference 20 minutes can make. I often start with the things that make the biggest difference. Or,
  2. I get into motion and now I get into it. I might tidy up for an hour or until its done (that depends on what else is on deck and how extensive my mess is, of course). It would have been hard to convince myself to do it for an hour but now that I got started it is easy.

That’s the point: Getting started. It needs a shift in your inner state. Shifting from not doing this task to doing this task. The shift is the hardest. After you’ve made the shift, executing the task is much easier.

Give the Task an Inspiring Name

You also might give the 20-minute period a fun name. “20-minute office clean-up” sounds boring if not horrifying to me. But “20-minute resort care” may sound better. Hey, I like working in a resort. It makes me feel good. My “resort” even has Brilliance Cafe mugs and gourmet coffee. Just saying. 🙂

The point is: It is psychological, and there are some little tricks you can play on yourself.

As for financial matters: I schedule 30-minutes. I call it “Happy Dollar Half Hour.” Who wouldn’t want happy dollars? And a half-hour doesn’t sound so bad. What happens? I get moving and usually get it done in those 30 minutes. If I need a little extra time I don’t mind doing it because I’ve already shifted from not doing the task to doing it.

The Method Works Almost Everywhere

This method works in a lot of situations, whether it is tasks related to business or life in general.

It even applies to home improvement projects. While many of them take several hours, it is likely that you can find something that you can do in 20-30 minutes. Schedule that. Do it. Perhaps, if you can, leave a little extra room on your calendar in case you feel motivated to continue. And if you don’t have more than those 20-30 minutes, then cool. At least, you got something done. The satisfaction of that probably will draw you back to take the next step soon.

I’m Curious

How do you see this technique working in your life? Which particular task has been waiting for you to get around to doing?

Stephie Althouse

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