How To Do Things You Hate

A peek inside why we DON'T get certain things done and how to do things you hate by tapping into self-motivation. What to do when "just do it" doesn't work anymore...

No one else woke up and plowed your ancestors' fields, they had to roll out of bed and get to work.

Can you imagine great-great grandpa rolling out of bed and telling grandma he didn't "feel" like tilling the field today? That wouldn't have gone over so well since the family depended on grandpa doing his job for food and shelter.

What happened over a few generations to make us over-think our responsibilities and talk ourselves out of doing what needs to be done?

Chili Dogs and Choices Over Time...

We have choices.

No one dies or starves if we don't wash the dishes after dinner tonight and one more week of dust continuing to pile up on the furniture doesn't affect our lives so we procrastinate.

Well, eating two chili dogs doesn't make you grab your chest and keel over with a heart attack as you eat them, but two chili dogs every day for a year might.


Bestselling author and psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, M.D. said in his landmark book, The Road Less Traveled,

"As soon as they realize that they will ultimately be required by the process of psychotherapy to assume total responsibility for their condition and its cure, most patients, no matter how eager for therapy they initially appeared to be, will drop out."


Our daily actions add up; little actions - taken or avoided - snowball into results. Understanding the advantages of time management helps you stay committed to learning how to do things you hate and making changes in how you approach actions...

In order to learn how to do things you hate, you first need to accept complete responsibility for your actions. You are not a victim. If you are completely honest with yourself, when you're not doing something, it's usually because you don't like it or aren't good at it.

Why is that a problem?

Well because many adults haven't developed their emotional maturity to a point where they accept COMPLETE responsibility for what they choose to do and choose to procrastinate on. We continually scan the environment for something more interesting or easier to do than what really needs to be done.

It's been said that a sign of emotional maturity is delaying instant gratification in favor of long-term benefit. When you pass up the Snickers bar because you'd rather fit into your jeans, or put money into savings instead of blowing it on a weekend in Vegas, you're demonstrating emotional maturity. When you're able to take a long-term view of your life and what you want it to be like in 10 years, then take action on how to do things you hate, that's maturity.

The Cost-Benefit Analysis Of Hate

How to do things you hate: Do a quick cost-benefit analysis on your task. Ask yourself if the task is really worth your time, or if you can consider a classic time management tip: delegate it, pay someone else to do it or drop it all together.

A cost-benefit analysis would weigh the benefits of doing an action against the time and energy you will spend completing the task. Is it worth it?

Big corporations encourage delegation because it doesn't make sense to have a vice president making more than $200,000 a year spending a half hour mailing out discount letters for her business when she has an assistant making $10 per hour that is fully capable of handling that task.

It's time to calculate your hourly wage and ask yourself if you can pay someone else less than that to handle it. If you can make up to $200 an hour working on your business and you can hire help to cleaning the house at $9 an hour, why wouldn't you pay someone else... you benefit much more than the cost.

A real eye-opener is to track how you're spending your time with a time log (the link is to an article I wrote with an example of a time log in case you haven't seen one before.)

When you track where you've spent your time for a week or more then review it later, you can find all kinds of opportunities to be more efficient, offload or delegate some tasks and increase your productivity exponentially.

Here's a mind map I developed of how to do things you hate:

Re-frame Tasks & Accept Responsibility

Once you've accepted responsibility for getting something done no matter what, it's time to look at it a different way. It's time to reframe it.

In Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP, reframing is thinking about something in different contexts. If you put the same painting into a rustic, thick wood frame, it looks very different than if you put it into a sleek, modern chrome frame.

When trying to figure out how to do things you hate, your brain works this way.

You can choose to look at any task, like washing the dishes, as absolute drudgery or put a positive spin on it. I can tell myself I'm washing the dishes to clean the kitchen and a clean kitchen makes me proud and helps me feel like I'm doing my part in caring for my family.

It's the same event, different spin.

Begin looking at the bright side of everything you know you need to do. Find something good about it even if it seems challenging. At first it will feel like you're trying to be Pollyanna, but when you find the good in a task, it is much easier to get yourself to take action.

Another aspect of reframing is to look only at the next step of large projects. David Allen popularized this concept in his bestselling book:

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

Once you've determined the appropriate things that need to be done and put them in a sequence, put your focus solely on the current action step and don't let yourself get overwhelmed by the size of the entire project.

Although it's not usually related to how to do things you hate, you've heard about athletes doing this. They just focus on rounding the next corner, blocking the next tackle or connecting with the next ball.

You run long distances one step at a time. Chunk down projects into bite-sized, do-able steps makes accomplishing them much less intimidating.

The Origin of Human Motivation

Motivation has been studied for years. The latest science tells us that three things are primarily responsible for human motivation:

1) Autonomy - The desire to direct your own life

2) Mastery - The urge to make progress and get better at something that matters

3) Purpose - Yearning to do what we do in service of something larger than ourselves.

*Source - Daniel H. Pink, "Drive"

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

In Summary, How To Do Things You Hate:

Whatever you can do to reframe your tasks within the context of autonomy, mastery or purpose will increase your motivation and drive to finish it.

  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Consider the consequences
  • Accept responsibility
  • Re-frame the task
  • Get 'er done ;)

Read Another Time Management Article:


Getting Things Done The Book

Time Management and Success

Using A Time Log

Help For Procrastination

Time Management Books

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

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Time Management Challenges

Bad Time Management

Improving Concentration

Procrastination Help

Stress Mgmt Tips

Workplace Interruptions

Burnout Symptoms

Get Rid of Clutter

How To Do Things
You Hate

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Overcoming Laziness

Perfectionism and Procrastination


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