Work Smarter//

Meaningful Work: A Simple 3-Step Method for Getting Your “One Thing” Done

Imagine the relief you'll feel when you're to-do list is all clear.

Courtesy of Lijphoto / Shutterstock
Courtesy of Lijphoto / Shutterstock

Most of us have that One Thing on our task list that is the most important thing on the list, that would be the most meaningful … and yet we’re not doing it.

The One Thing is so meaningful and important that it brings up a ton of uncertainty for us, and causes us to avoid, run, distract, comfort, procrastinate. It’s an old habitual pattern.

So how do we deal with this uncertainty and habitual avoidance?

I’ve been working on a 3-step method for this, very simple and it improves with practice.

So here’s the simple (not always easy) method:

  1. Create a space. Put aside all the messages, social media, distractions, smaller tasks, organizing and tidying, checking on one more thing. Instead, have a small space (even just 10-15 minutes) for this important task, and nothing else. You can do it now: set aside the next 15 minutes for this task, and tell yourself this is the only thing you’ll do for the next 15 minutes. It’s that easy.
  2. Meditate on meaning & feelings. For just a minute, mindfully drop into your body and feel your fear, resistance, frustration, overwhelm. Let yourself feel it fully. Then let yourself feel the love you feel for those who you’ll be serving by doing this task. Do they matter to you? (It might be you, loved ones, customers, a team, the world, etc.) Let yourself fully feel what you feel for them, as if your heart were wide open. This step only has to take a minute or two.
  3. Do the smallest next step. Now pick the smallest action you can take to get the ball rolling with your meaningful task. If you have a paper to write, can you just focus on writing a few paragraphs? If you have to do your taxes, can you just get your documents together? If you have to organize your house, can you just organize one drawer? Get moving, translating your love into a small action.

And repeat. It’s that simple! With this method, you’ll connect to the deeper reason you want to do the task, along with the fears that are coming up for you that are making you run from the task. With this connection, you’ll be much more able to move into it.

Once you are ready to move into the task, picking the smallest next step (instead of a huge step) allows you to move in with a lot more ease, and get the ball rolling. Then you can do the next small step after that … or throw in another short meditation to feel connected again.

Over and over, this method helps with your meaningful tasks, your One Thing that you’ve been wanting to do but dreading and putting off.

I wrote this post using the method, with love for all of you.

Originally published on Zen Habits.

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