7 Psychological Tricks To Help You Get Stuff Done — Even On Days You Don’t Feel Like It

Sometimes, starting is the hardest part.

woman studying Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels 

Colby Kultgen is an influencer who focuses on helping people reach their full potential. He offers tips and techniques for streamlining productivity and creating healthy habits. He recently shared recommendations on how to get work done, specifically geared towards procrastinators.

Here are 7 psychological tricks to help you get stuff done, even when you don’t feel like it. 

1. Set a timer for 5 minutes.

Kultgen calls this trick “The 5-minute rule.” He advises people to set a timer for five minutes and then start the task that they’ve been avoiding. After five minutes are up, you can stop working on the task, if you want, or you can keep going.


Often, the hardest part of getting something done is just starting it. So, as Kultgen sees it, “90% of the time, the momentum of starting is enough to keep you going.”

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2. Make time limits for learning.

Kultgen believes that “excessive learning becomes procrastination.” He claimed that growth comes from learning, then applying your new skills, instead of just learning for hours on end.

For each hour you’ve spent studying, spend one hour applying what you’ve learned.

7 Psychological Tricks To Help You Get Stuff Done — Even On Days You Don’t Feel Like ItPhoto: RF Studio / Pexels 


3. Take action to get motivated.

Many people hold the belief that we have to feel motivated before we act, but Kultgen believes the opposite to be true. While we’re taught that motivation leads to action, it’s actually action that creates a sense of motivation. 

Kultgen recommends taking small steps toward action, which motivates you and ultimately leads to more action. For example, if we set out to clean a small corner of a room, once we see the progress we’ve made, we’re likely to keep cleaning.



Taking bite-sized chunks out of larger tasks helps us complete those big tasks in the long run.


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4. Apply the ‘2-minute rule.’

“If something takes less than two minutes, do it now,” Kultgen said. “Don’t let some mundane task gnaw at the back of your mind for weeks.”

Often, procrastination is the result of our avoidant anxiety. We put off doing things that feel overwhelming, which just makes us more anxious and avoidant. If we can summon our inner administrative bravery and just do the thing, we’ll feel so much better afterward.



5. ‘Eat the frog.’

When presented with a to-do list for the day, do the hardest task first, even if you don’t want to. By starting with the hardest part, the rest of your tasks will seem easy by comparison. As Kultgen says, “Get that weight off.”


RELATED: 4 Specific Things People Who Don't Procrastinate Do That Everyone Else Doesn't

6. Get rid of digital distractions.

Checking your Instagram feed over and over is just another way to procrastinate, and the constant input can make you feel bad about yourself, creating a negative feedback loop. So, remove the digital clutter to amp up your focus.

7 Psychological Tricks To Help You Get Stuff Done — Even On Days You Don’t Feel Like ItPhoto: Ivan Samkov / Pexels 


Kultgen recommends putting your phone in airplane mode. He also recommends using a web blocker and only keeping tabs up that are relevant to what you’re doing. Another surefire way to stop the distractions is to leave your phone in a separate room, so you’re not tempted to pick it up, at all.

7. Clean up clutter.

Before you get down to business, make sure your workspace is cleared off. A cluttered desk can mean a cluttered mind. Having a blank space to work in leaves your brain in tip-top shape to stay completely focused on the task at hand.

 Photo : Pavel Danilyuk / Pexels


Giving ourselves grace when we’re having a hard time focusing is a valuable part of being gentle with ourselves, but sometimes, you’ve just got to get your work done.

Breaking things down into manageable tasks helps combat feeling overwhelmed. So, give yourself a round of applause for starting — You’ve already done the hardest part.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture and all things to do with the entertainment industry.