Getting Things Done — Especially, When You Don’t Want It To Get Done

One of the major obstacles I face in improving my productivity is to find my sweet spot – the interjection of time (urgent v/s important), space (context) and psychological readiness to do the task.

However, I have to face this paradox of productivity that one can improve and be more productivity when one is not thinking of being productive.

I found that the concept of ‘detachment’ seems to work perfectly well for this. The underlying message in the idea is to separate feeling from action – to be independent of one’s emotions and to do what needs to be done.

“The statement we hear so often – ‘I like it, so I’m going to do it’ – is a confession that a person is not free.”

~ Eknath Easwaran

Previously I used to take two approaches to this idea:

  • Just like everyone else, I either procrastinated what needs to be done, or simply refused to do it
  • Or, I used to trick myself to be motivated or inspired that I should do this for the larger goal or purpose.

As you could have recognized, the first approach was simply escaping, but second one did work whenever I made the connection with the larger purpose. But the problem was to those things I don’t feel connected or couldn’t place it in the larger scheme of things.

Then I asked myself, ‘What if I simply don’t have set of likes or dislikes?’ – which is the very thing that is stalling me from getting things done. Now I simply get on doing things, instead of thinking about it or seeing whether I ‘feel’ like doing it or not.

It seems to resonate well with the wisdom of Eastern philosophy – to be able to do what needs to be done – to let go of emotions and thoughts. The Japanese Psychologist Dr.Morito, talks about 3 steps to taking action and be at peace:

  1. Accept the emotions – you can neither control it or influence it
  2. Know your purpose – bifurcate thoughts/ feelings from action. You cannot control your thoughts or fleeting emotions, but what you can control is you behavior, you physical action. So the magic question is, ‘What needs to be done?’ And let your body do it. Your mind follows.
  3. Do what needs to be done – if you intend to raise a flower, you need to pull out of weeds whether you like it or not, whether you feel like it or not.

It seems to be simple trick, but it seems to work every other time.

Just like now, I never thought I would be publishing this post – but I just took the necessary actions and got it done. I accepted the uneasiness I felt in writing and editing this, but now I feel better that it being read by you.

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