Sunday, March 4, 2012

7 Ways to Stay on Task

The following article is revised and abbreviated from an article by Rick Warren listing “9 Ways to Stay Motivated for Ministry.”   You can read the whole article here at
7 Ways to Stay on Task
Staying on task can sometimes be very difficult.  This is true in any area of work.  Below are seven steps you can take to help you stay on task.  There is nothing unusual or ground-breaking on this list, but I’m confident these will work for you.

1. Put your plans on paper.
Write out what you want to accomplish. Dawson Trotman said, “Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips.” If I can say it and I can write it down, then it’s clear. If I haven’t written it down, then it’s vague.  Just putting what you have to do down on paper will often relieve some stress and allow you to focus on your task.

2. Break big tasks into small steps.
As the saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  When you know you have a task coming up, write down the specific steps you need to take before the project is done.

3. Decide where you want to start.
After you’ve broken down the task into steps, ask yourself what needs to be done first. Once you know what needs to be done first, it’s easier to get started.

4. Start on the task whether you feel like it or not.
The hardest part of any task is getting started.  Usually when we say we can’t do something, we really mean we don’t want to do it.  At least not right now.  Most of the people who succeed in this world are those who don’t feel like doing what they’re doing. Successful people have developed the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t feel like doing.

5. Remind yourself of the benefits of completing the task.
When things seem boring, tedious, or mundane, remember the joy of a completed task that’s been done well.  Remind yourself what the benefits will be.  Think of the people it will help, the difference it will make, and the satisfaction you will have at the moment of achievement.

6. Be optimistic.
Optimism creates energy.  Optimism can make any job more fun and enjoyable. Optimism will cause people to want to come along side of you to work with you on the task. Optimism can make all the difference in the world.

7. Establish an action environment.
Create a place in your office where you can get all of your tools together for your task. You need an environment where you can focus on the task at hand.  Success comes from focusing on one thing at a time. Clear your desk of anything that is not related to the task.  If you have things on your desk that are not related, they can become a distraction.  This includes closing email and social network programs on your computer desktop.  Continuous email, twitter, and facebook notifications can become huge distractions.