One of my favorite “tough love” productivity mantras is “it won’t get done unless I do it.” It’s one of my favorites because, more often than not, it works to give me a jump-start on projects or tasks where I’m feeling less than motivated.

This mantra certainly doesn’t apply to every task. Indeed, I’ve spoken elsewhere about the helpfulness of delegating when you lack motivation. However, when a task is hanging over your head and can’t be shifted to someone else, I find this mantra especially helpful.

First, it reminds me that I have certain specialties or skills that make me the ideal person to do the job. In other words, there’s a reason it’s on my plate and not someone else’s plate.

Second, I’m reminded that the task will continue to sit on my to-do list until I complete it. It won’t magically disappear just because I don’t feel like doing it.

Third, the mantra reminds me that sometimes just putting your head down and doing the work is the best, and most simple, way forward. Since we tend to make things bigger than they actually are the longer we wait to complete them, this statement can serve to simplify the work in front of you.

Fourth, this mantra offers a “buck up” message to get over whatever is making me procrastinate and just get it done.

Sometimes, when I state this mantra to myself, I realize it’s actually not true and I can delegate at least some parts of the task to someone else. (It may be rare that this happens, but it’s a welcome outcome!)

I like mantras that help me get real with myself when I need to move a project forward. Some of my other favorites are:

  • Do the next smallest thing
  • One step at a time
  • Just get started
  • Enjoy the process
  • Pretend like it can’t fail

All of these mantras keep me grounded and getting work done rather than staying in my head and procrastinating.

To think on:

  • Do you ever give yourself tough-love pep-talks?
  • What are your favorite productivity mantras?