When I really don’t want to do something I tend to throw myself a little pity party. It’s not very mature of me, I know, but it’s true. As a paltry defense, I’ve gotten much better at keeping my cool since I was a kid (I remember math homework being particularly traumatizing), but every once and a while the mini-tantrum will make an appearance now.
The biggest difference between my childhood crying jags and my early-twenty-year-old bad days is that I’m now more of less on my own to figure out what to do about it. As such I’ve come up with some ways of getting things done even if I hate them.
Follow these steps to stop moping and get stuff done:
Get up. Before you do anything else, you need to clean up the puddle of ick you’ve gotten yourself into being upset over things. For me this involves tossing my snot-covered PJ’s in the wash and putting on my not-leaving-the-house-but-still-dressed uniform of workout shorts and a comfy t-shirt. Sidenote: Workout clothes get worn in this uniform more than in any sort of working out mode.
Be honest with yourself and the people you’re working with. When working on a deadline it’s tempting to tell yourself that you’re further along than you actually are. It’s not helping anyone. Be as real as possible and accept any consequences for the stuff you haven’t done yet just as you would accept the rewards for the stuff you did do.
Ask for help! If you’ve been truly honest with everyone then this will be easier. Ask if you can delegate one thing to someone else. Make it worth it. Something you hate doing. Something that’s distracting you from the main priority. Let someone else deal with it and then don’t think about it anymore (that’s probably the hardest part).
Break it into smaller chunks. You’ve heard it a million times, but when you do this without prompting for the first time it feels revolutionary. Sit down and come up with a list of all the thing you need to do for this. All the things. Even the little things like “look up how to say welcome in German” or “spend five minutes making the poster look awesome”. Then get started.
Throw a productivity party. This one may be dependent on your working style, but something that helps me is to sit down with other people who have things to do and be productive together. We’re usually not working on the same thing mind you, but on different project entirely. My friend Corianne and I do this about once a month. She’s an animation student so she draws and I write. We help each other come up with ideas when we’re stuck, and count it as socialization time as well as working time.
Do something else. If you’re really stuck then take a break to do something else. The addendum on this is that it must be something else that really does need doing. Clean bathroom, write a birthday card to a friend, plan the next week’s meals, prepare blog posts, something. My favorite productive-but-not-what-I’m-supposed-to-be-doing thing is to wash dishes while singing loudly.
To conclude this I’d like to put a disclaimer on it by saying that these are things that have worked for me. I can’t guarantee that they’ll work for everyone, but they probably can’t hurt if you’re really in a jam.