Strategies to Improve Task Initiation

By Trina Muncy

The most daunting part of any task is getting started. Whether you’re a procrastinator, afraid of failure, or simply lack the motivation to spring into action, making the leap from knowing you have to do something to actually doing it can feel like jumping across the Grand Canyon. The risks are great, the obstacles endless, the consequences steep. But once you’ve reached the other side, looking back at all you’ve had to overcome, the rewards are unparalleled. Task initiation is the spark that ignites our engines, the driving force that helps us transition from an “I’ll do it later” mentality to a more productive, ambitious one.

With any goal comes a certain amount of pressure, whether it’s from the outside world (external pressure) or self-imposed (internal pressure). External pressures consist of work deadlines, college exams, paying bills, family responsibilities—all the things that command our daily attention. We either plow through these tasks hastily, just to get the job done, or, when asked to do something we don’t like, avoid starting altogether. Regardless of which circumstance you find yourself in—recklessly rushing through deadlines, or avoiding them until the last minute—it’s important to follow through on your commitments while doing the best you can.

Internal pressure is our perseverance and determination manifest, our inner drive that pushes us through a task from start to finish, despite our fears, self-doubts, or lack of interest. Think of it as the voice that guides us across the Grand Canyon, that unsettling feeling in the back of our minds that jolts us out of our comfort zone and awakens our hidden potential. Internal pressure plays a vital role in keeping us on track when we need to complete an assignment that’s tedious or boring. Acting as a voice of reason, it reminds us of the long-term payoffs and the success we’ll feel once the task is finished.

You can jump start your task initiation by first identifying where you fall short in this area and how you can utilize external and internal pressures toward achieving your goals. Secondly, you can select strategies that you feel you can most effectively employ; these will, of course, vary from one individual to another. While breaking long-term, bigger projects into smaller tasks may work better for some, others may feel more comfortable diving right in, facing the challenge head-on, without overthinking it. Finally, you can create your own strategic plan with three chosen tasks to initiate. The more you practice jumping over the hurdle of getting started, the better you’ll feel taking tasks on as they come.

To learn more strategies to improve your task initiation, register for our Task Masters Program.