By Leo Babauta

As we head into our final week of our May Dive Into Important Tasks challenge, let’s look at what to do if you have gotten off track:

  1. You haven’t been doing the challenge at all recently; or
  2. You are doing the challenge but got distracted, or started procrastinating on a given day.

These are both common scenarios, and you shouldn’t feel too bad about them. They’re just good material to work with!

Before we get into that, I’d like to remind you that the challenge for Week 4 is to: Pick 3 important tasks each day, and do 4 10-minute sessions. Split up the 4 sessions however you like between the 3 important tasks. You can take a longer break between them if needed, so that you don’t have to spend a consecutive hour doing these sessions but can spread them out in the beginning part of your work day.

If you haven’t been doing the other weeks, don’t worry! Just get back into it now. If you’re struggling, that’s OK. Start with the smallest next step.

Let’s talk more about how to get back on track.

If You Haven’t Been Doing the Challenge

Don’t fret if you haven’t been doing the challenge — life gets in the way, you get busy, or maybe you just haven’t been fully committed to the challenge. That’s all OK — just check in and notice what has gotten in the way.

Now here’s what I recommend:

  1. Recommit yourself. Why do you want to train yourself in focus and staying with important tasks? Why does this matter to you? Is it worth committing yourself fully, pouring yourself into it? Or would you rather stick with what you’ve been doing? If you’re ready to commit for a good reason, really commit in your heart. And take the time to commit in our Slack community.
  2. Start with the smallest next step. With a huge commitment in your heart, reduce the overwhelm by just doing the tiniest next step. Just do 5 minutes of an important task. Set a timer and dive in! Keep doing that — smallest next steps, every day. Don’t let yourself worry about anything but that smallest next step.
  3. Step up the accountability. As I said, commit on Slack. Then report when you have success. Ask for help if you’re struggling. Don’t hide. This will make you feel more committed.

It’s that simple. Commit yourself, knowing your important reason in your heart. Only focus on the smallest next step. And increase accountability to hold yourself to your commitment when you feel like running.

If You Get Distracted or Procrastinate

Interestingly, the process for getting back on track when you’ve gotten distracted or started procrastinating on a given day is about the same:

  1. Notice that you’ve strayed & recommit yourself. Sometimes you don’t even notice that you have gotten off track — so the first step is to notice that you’ve gotten distracted or are procrastinating on your important task. Now recommit to this challenge in the moment, deciding in your heart that life is too short to fritter away on distractions, and that you have important things you need to do in this world. Commit in your heart.
  2. Get back on track with the smallest next step. Getting back on track is as simple as taking the smallest next step. Just 5 minutes. You can go longer after you’ve done that, but don’t focus on that part. Just focus on the smallest next step. Then the next one. One small thing at a time. That’s your entire universe.
  3. Celebrate & report your victory. While it might be a small step, it’s still a huge victory. Don’t rush past it as if nothing happened. Instead, take a moment to celebrate the victory of getting back on track. And report your win to your small team on Slack, or on the Slack challenge channel!

Getting back on track can be that simple. Take that smallest next step now!