How to Deal with the Frustration of Not Getting Enough Done

I’ve tried it all. Timeboxing, GTD (this is fantastic!), Triaging, priority lists, to-do lists, the pomodoro technique, visualization, a list of only 2-3 things I want to get done, etc etc.

But sometimes, no matter what, I just can’t get into action. And then I stay up late into the night wondering why I can’t seem to get it done. What’s wrong with me. How much I am disappointing myself and others, etc etc. I just can’t seem to get things done. It’s not a good feeling. Maybe you can relate. Most people I know do. So here is something that has worked for me. Maybe it will help you as well.

The basic idea is this: Feel what you’re feeling when you’re feeling it, and to not feel what you’re not feeling when you’re not feeling it.


Let me explain. I don’t mean to go all Eckhart Tolle on you, but whatever. If it helps, like it has for me, this can be a huge gain for you when it comes to productivity and getting things done.

Walk through this activity with me. It will help.

Think of something you absolutely need to be doing. A tangible action step that you need to take. I am assuming you’re stuck at the place where you’ve broken down what you need to get done into smaller do-able pieces. If not, then that’s the first thing you need to do. Can’t do it? Great! Use this process for the task of making a task list.

As you think about doing this task, keep sitting. Stay with me here.

A lot of things will start happening now. Maybe it will be a sensation in your stomach or chest. Maybe your mind will flood with opening a new tab and just checking in with something else. Reaching for your phone. Oh, and that other thing you need to get done. Yeah…all this and more. Just welcome it. Don’t fight it. Just let it be there.

Yes, even the feeling of push. What you resist persists. And if you’re feeling like resisting, then welcome that as well. Welcome more stuff. All the crappy stuff. I’m-not-good-enough. Why-can’t-I-get-this-done. The sensations, pictures, and sounds associated with it. Just sit with it. Welcome it. Don’t fight it. It hasn’t worked. A part of you still wants to fight, in which case welcome it.

Observe it all doing its thing. Any other discomfort. Squirming to get away from this. To do something, ANYTHING else but to experience this. Welcome that pain/unease.

Welcome it all.

And then, ask yourself if you could, would you be able to let it go? Lead with your gut. if the answer is yes or no, or nothing, or whatever, just be honest and say it. Then, ask yourself
Would you let it go then?

Keep asking yourself the could you/would you/when until it’s out. To be honest, it’s taken be 4-5 minutes on really big issues before, and sometimes only 1-2 minutes on something simple I’ve been resisting.

Once you do this, you will feel such an incredible sense of lightness and space that it will be easy to get stuff done.

The most I’ve resisted the discomfort in starting something, the more it has persisted, and the more it has not made me move, the more it’s made me procrastinate, the more it’s made me frustrated. I hated myself in those moments. Now, I just let myself feel it all. Get it all out. Not fight. Welcome. This has been a mistake.

And then, when I pick up a book, or listen to some music, or watch something, my mind is still half in the task. This is an example of me breaking the rule of feeling something when I’m feeling it, and not feeling what I’m not feeling when I’m not feeling it. My mind is in two places. It scatters attention. It makes things tough. I don’t end up enjoying what I’m doing because of the guilt.

Now, I just let it dance out.

Despite how illogical this all sounds, it has helped me deal with the frustration of not getting enough done. Hopefully, it helps you as well.

Get into action!

Leave a comment if it helps you, or share a way that has helped you get into action.

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