Time Management: Do It First, DUH

My time management plans have been a bit challenging lately. The main reason for this is that I have several ongoing tasks on my plate that each need more time than the allotted hour each evening. Some have fallen off the schedule, except sporadically – email and social media, for example. In some cases, this was unexpected. An upgrade to my accounting software that should have been easy, ended up taking up a whole evening, ending with a lengthy tech support phone call (normally, a last resort for me). All ended up well, as the technician was actually able to help and we finally determined that the download sites I’d tried getting the software from, were both dishing up bad files. Still, that’s three hours I can’t get back.

Treadmill and netbook

Treadmill + good stuff to read on my netbook + DUH = Success!

One thing that amazingly hasn’t fallen off the schedule is my physical activity, which for the most part amounts to a thirty-minute interval workout on the treadmill. I’ll be honest here: I hate exercising. I like walking in and of itself, but I don’t like to sweat (which the interval workouts certainly do), I get easily bored, and I get stressed thinking of all the other stuff that needs to be done, that I’d much rather be doing.

So how have I kept it up?

Two things, actually. The first is something I learned several years ago in psychologist/author Margie Lawson‘s wonderful Defeat Self-defeating Behaviors online workshop: The DUH principle.

The DUH principle is pretty simple, and therin lies its beauty. Its three facets are:

  1. Do it first. Or at least, as close to first as possible. I’m sooooo not a morning person, so there’s no getting up early to exercise. Not gonna happen. So my “first” is first thing after I get home from work.
  2. Understand it might not be easy. This part I put out of my mind and Just Do It, even if I don’t feel like it (and I often don’t).
  3. Hurray! Celebrate your progress and success! I mark down my treadmill time in my food and exercise diary on my Android phone, and also on my workout site. I also have a Yahoo goals group, to whom I report my success each week.

The other thing that’s helped me is Make it Fun if at all possible. With a little help from my netbook, the Kindle for PC app, and tons of great books, my exercise time doubles as reading time – something all writers should do anyway. So knowing I’ve got a good book to read just waiting on my netbook is a great incentive, and helps me get past the I-don’t-feel-like-its. It really makes that half hour zip by. Years ago, I tried reading print books on the treadmill. Didn’t work. My treadmill has a book slot on its control panel, but the panel is way too high for me, and it’s too low a slant. It was also a pain to turn pages. The netbook holds the book at the perfect angle, and turning the page is just a tap on the page-down button.

Got any good tips on getting an un-fun task done? Please share! And if you’re having trouble, try the DUH principle – and see if you can make that drudgery fun!