Strategies to Tackle Tasks You’re Avoiding

I regularly find myself avoiding some tasks I have taken responsibility to finish. Inertia, distraction, low energy, some aspect of the task I’m inexperienced or weak in, continually forgetting and so many other obstructions regularly get in my way. Of course one of the most frustrating of the tasks I forget to do is to schedule time to do that specific task.

Here are a few of many ideas we use with our clients to get more of their “Can’t Get Started” tasks done.

  • If you haven’t gotten to a particular task, then the odds are pretty good you’re avoiding it. You need to plan a specific way to get started.
  • It can help to identify why you’re avoiding that specific task.
    • Is it unclear? Then clarify it now.
    • Is it actually a multiple step process involving many tasks? Call it a project and then identify a discrete “Next Action”
      and put that on your task list. Do that one thing and identify the next “Next Action.”
    • It may have a deadline, but have you assigned a start date? Start dates are one way to kick your own butt into gear. On the start date do something. Do not skip it. Take a small step.
    • Have you put a time in your calendar to work on the task? Never cancel or skip without rescheduling beforehand.
    • Do you frequently have items that are languishing on your task list? Create a regularly scheduled time to work on “Can’t Get Started” items. This can be as little as 10 minutes every day, maybe first thing in the morning or right after lunch? Or twice a week for 30 minutes to an hour. When the time arrives, pick the hardest item on your list and just start it. If you get it done start the next until the time is up.
    • Do you have an up to date and complete task list? If not, you’re missing the most powerful tool to move tasks from recognition to completion. Only attempt to hold tasks in your head if you don’t value reliability, integrity, high level of performance, creativity, low stress, and other quality of work and life performance measures i.e., write them down!

The most important step you can take is to start the task, even if you only do a very simple step. Then just do the next simple step. Eventually you will gain the momentum you need.


Organizing and productivity steps are simple to understand, but they are hard to implement. Having support and an experienced problem solver in your corner can make the difference between just wishing and actually accomplishing. Birke Consulting understands people and knows how to help you implement. Give us a call.