Group of young employees crowded around a window putting up coloured post-it notes and planning how to complete their latest task.
Image: © GaudiLab/

How to actually start that task you keep avoiding

10 May 2019

You cannot keep putting this off. You know the thing I’m talking about – that thing. I repeat, you cannot keep putting it off.

How is that ‘thing’ coming along? You know, that one particular gruesome-seeming task that has been idling on your to-do list for a while now – have you done it yet? No?

Listen, this is not a place of judgement. Everyone procrastinates and procrastination tends to be self-propagating. It’s easy to look down the barrel of the most odious item on your checklist and vie to tackle the more approachable tasks instead. However, the more you put off the thing you’ve been avoiding, the more insurmountable it will seem.

Fortunately, dealing with avoidance is not a question of willpower but of technique, and Net Credit has very kindly compiled this infographic full of excellent tips.

Start by breaking that mammoth task into smaller and more manageable chunks to make it seem more achievable. This will help you identify what Net Credit calls the ‘transition point’ – in other words, the first small action required to get the ball rolling on the task.

This could be something as simple as making a phone call or scheduling a meeting. Once you take this first step, the dread you have been feeling will deflate like a popped balloon.

The next step is to mitigate the effect of distractions if possible. If your desk is messy, take a few minutes to clean it up. This can be a slippery slope though, as cleaning is an excellent way to put off the task at hand while feeling as if you’re being productive. To keep it controlled, set yourself a timer of five minutes.

If your office is particularly loud, try plugging in your headphones and sticking some music on. If you’re tired, make a coffee.

It’s good to take semi-regular breaks when you’re working, especially if it’s something that requires a lot of concentration. One of the most famed techniques for this is called the Pomodoro technique, in which you take a five-minute break for every 25 minutes of work.

For more great tips on finally tackling that task you have been avoiding, check out the infographic below.

task you're avoiding infographic

Infographic: NetCredit

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Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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