We have our “to do” lists and then we have our “to-do-but-i-really-don’t-want-to-do” lists. I consider the latter to be the “nagging task list.” The nagging task is different from an everyday or recurring task. It’s usually a one-off task that isn’t urgent but still finds itself onto your checklist. Gretchen Rubin from The Happiness Project introduced me to the “nagging task” concept and it made all sorts of lightbulbs go off in my head.
Is there a pile of “stuff” on your counter or desk that has been giving you the side eye?
Is your closet overflowing and completely a hot mess?
Is there a work project that you have been putting off for weeks?
To me, nagging tasks can kind of weigh me down. I don’t think of them often but when I do I struggle to find the energy, drive, or motivation to complete the task. However, when I do complete the nagging task I get such an immense and intense sense of accomplishment and relief.
Take for example the huge project that I worked on last month. For years, I’ve been taking hundreds (ok, thousands) of photos and I’ve always struggled to get my digital photographs organized. When my son entered the picture, I really wanted to document his life in photos. Before I knew it, in December I found myself looking through 40,000+ photos from the past two years. Major yikes.
To sift through, organize, print, and place those photos into albums was a daunting task that seemed to overwhelm me every time I thought about it. This was a massive nagging task of mine.
I knew that I needed a game plan and fast, especially since I wasn’t going to stop taking photos of our son. So, I purchased an amazing photo printer, photo paper, ink, and photo albums. I also downloaded an app to help me efficiently print photos from my phone using my printer.
Yes, it took me a few weeks but I ended up with a Year 1 and Year 2 photo albums from my son’s two years. I even created a system to help me stay on top of this “nagging task” so that I don’t encounter the feeling of being overwhelmed.
In fact, just the other day, I printed all of January’s photos and placed them in his Year 3 book. Voila!
The sense of accomplishment, pride, and joy I feel when I flip through the photo albums is awesome.
5 Ways to Tackle Nagging Tasks
Here are simple ways to tackle nagging tasks:
1.) Start Off With the Tough Tasks First
Do you create a to do list every day? Is there a task that seems to be never crossed off? Instead, it finds itself on your to do list every day. Well, why not change it up? Do that nagging task first so that you don’t have to worry about it all day/week/month.
2.) Tackle One Task at a Time
If you try to tackle all of your nagging tasks at once, you will really feel overwhelmed. Instead, tackle just one nagging task a day/week/month … whatever you can squeeze in and handle. Once you complete one nagging task, you’ll feel the energy and motivation to tackle more nagging tasks. Trust me, the sense of accomplishment feels amazing.
3.) Have Fun
Crank up the music, pour yourself some coffee, and think of tackling “nagging tasks” as “me time.” If you have fun with the tasks, they won’t seem as dreadful or painful.
4.) Schedule Your Tasks
If you don’t make time for your tasks, then how can you squeeze them in during your day/week/month? If you set aside a few minutes in your day or week, you’ll find it a bit easier to schedule time to take care of your nagging tasks.
5.) Create Systems
Is that pile on your desk driving you nuts? Schedule time to clear off your desk, put things into their place, and create a system to always keep things in their place. Have you been meaning to go through your closet and donate some clothes? Pour yourself coffee, crank the music, go through your closet, and then create a monthly or yearly system that helps you easily check off this task every month or year. Do you want to organize your photos and put them into photo albums? Create a system, just like I did. Now, instead of dreading this task, I have fun with it because it comes easy and it is no longer nagging me.
So, what nagging task will you tackle this week/month? Let me know how you feel when you’ve crossed that nagging task off you list. It’s such a freeing feeling.
How do you tackle nagging tasks?