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Make It Fun

By Marty Nemko

I’ve stumbled upon a new approach to get my clients to stop procrastinating: figure out how to make the task as fun as possible.

For example, one of my clients is a United Nations executive. He admits he procrastinates because he enjoys the rush of having to get the task done the last minute. “I’m addicted to adrenaline,” he laments. I asked him, “Might it be even more fun to start tasks early because then you have time to take breaks, play around, not be nervous, and still get the task done. Plus, the task will be done better than if you tried to crank it out at the last minute, which means you’re more likely to be praised for that work. And if you keep doing better work, you’re more likely to get a raise or a promotion.” He agreed, tried that approach, and reports improvement.

Another client is a manager who knows he’s doing poorly: he knows he’s short-tempered, fault-finding, and hiding behind his door and his spreadsheets. He too was improved by my asking him how he could make his task (management) fun. He came up with something I never would have thought of: “I want to be a world-class manager.” I asked him, “Tomorrow at work, do you want to pretend you’re an actor in a play, playing the role of the world’s greatest manager?” He said, “Sure.” He returned to our next session saying he felt he was a better and happier manager this week.

So, on what goal are you stuck? What could make the process of achieving it fun enough that you’d tackle it with relish?

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