Quick Tips to Get Started on Quarterly Tasks


[Reading time: 1 min 20 secs]

The biggest reason we put off doing quarterly tasks is because we can't quite remember how to do them. And without even consciously thinking about it, we tell ourselves it's going to be a huge time suck to figure it out.

That's when Dread creeps in:

support your emotional brain and avoid dread

and sometimes his companion, Fear:

support your emotional brain and avoid fear

Before we know it, the financial report isn't done, we're into Week Two of the next quarter, and our peaceful morning coffee routine is clouded with "I shoulda...."

Be kind to your future self

Unconsciously, we think our future self is going to be better able to tackle the task. In my experience though, some of the most-avoided quarterly tasks can be done in less than a couple of hours.

Here's how to help your brain get 'er done:

  1. Break the task into steps

This will help your brain understand what needs to happen. Breaking the task into steps is about displaying the steps in a visual way so your brain can actually SEE what it will take to start, stay focused on, and finish.

My students tell me they do best when Step #1 is: Review how to do it.

When you familiarize yourself with how you're going to do the task, Dread and Fear begin to lose power.

  1.  Document the process

After you've completed the task the first time, take 10 or 15 minutes and document the process. You don't need to make it a beautifully formatted How-To doc, just write down the general instructions so your memory is jogged when you have to do it the next time.

Here are two tips that will make the documentation easier:

  • Use voice-to-text on your computer or your phone. That way you won't get distracted by grammar or spelling. Voice-to-text will let your mind more freely flow through the process.
  • Save the doc in a place that will be easy to find. I know, this seems obvious but it's worth mentioning because most of us are inclined to just drop it on the desktop along with 100 other items. If you can, save this doc with other files related to the task. If you don't want to do that, create a folder called "My How Tos". Then give your How-To doc a title that's short and to the point.

Complicated tasks that we don't do very often are generally the ones that we tend to put off. We're convinced it's going to take an extra long time because we can't... quite... remember... how... it's... done.

Make it easy on your brain to get these infrequent tasks done and off your list!



Why should you make it easy on your brain?

What we do and how we do it is driven by our executive function/brain skills. These skills determine things like our ability to remember details, stay focused, and start things we might not want to do. When you are challenged by a task, take a close look at what brain skill needs support. What will help your brain get around the hurdle so you can move on?

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