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  • John Turner

Delayed gratification

Delayed gratification. Long term vs short term reward. First steps. In those moments when we decide whether to make a start on an important task, or do something easy and fun, we are choosing short or long term reward. The urgent/important matrix urges us to avoid to non urgent/non important tasks and focus on impotant/not urgent tasks. So why do so many of us go for the instant reward? Even if we know if won't help us meet our real long term goals? Well, I suspect the answer could be quite simple. The fun task is fun! So how do we get ourselves to start doing the tasks that will really help us achieve our long term goals, not just give us a short term high. I love the approach the Leo Babauta offers. He suggests that we break the larger task down into smaller chunks and make the first step so achievable that it would be near impossible to fail. This is an extention of the SMART objective setting that you may well be familiar with. But making the achievable part really super achievable. In my experience the momentum you build just from taking that first step is enough to keep tou moving forward. An example I use when not wanting to wash up is to wash just one glass. Then I think I might aswell wash the rest. Would be interested to hear what strategies you use?

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