Remember when I told you how I separate all my tasks into two piles: chocolate and vanilla?
The Third Pile
I lied! There is a third pile. Since the other two are called “chocolate” and “vanilla”, would you like to guess what the third is called?
If you guessed “strawberry”, you’ve obviously mistaken me for a normal human being. The third pile is called “Oberon.”
Oberon: A task that I’ll avoid, procrastinate, or resist if given half the chance.
Examples of Oberon tasks
- Pay the IRS the $7.84 I owe them (I resist this because I hate checks, and I hate mailing physical things)
- Set up HootSuite (I resist this because it’s new and unfamiliar)
- Call Comcast to figure out why my internet bill went up this month (I resist this because I don’t like talking to customer service people on the phone)
- Do the dumb things I gotta do
- Touch the puppet head
Resisting is exhausting!
The Oberon tasks are the ones I’ll resist doing if I mix them in with the other tasks. If I have any leeway to make decisions, I’ll take advantage of that leeway to decide that everything else on the list has magically become more urgent and more important than the Oberon tasks.
Some people can do this really cool judo move where they redirect the resistance into productivity. I can’t. I find resistance exhausting.
I solve this problem by setting aside an “Oberon Hour” and firmly committing to it.
I set aside a dedicated time for me to process my Oberon tasks, and I make a solid commitment to it.
I set an hour-long timer. I start with the Oberon task at the top of the list. I work my way down, and when my timer goes off, I’m done.
I wasn’t surprised to find that after just a few days, I felt far more peaceful. I had been stressing out over all these Oberon tasks not being done, even when the stress was too subtle for me to notice. I felt so much more mental and emotional spaciousness. My overwhelm melted away.
I was surprised to find that I actually started looking forward to Oberon Hour! Possibly because I had been suffering from decision fatigue, and Oberon Hour was a time when I didn’t have to decide what to do. I just start at the top of the list and work down.
Be the boss you’d be thrilled to work for
When you’re about to put something on your Oberon List, think twice. Double-check to make sure it’s actually important. Your time, oomph, and joy are precious. Oberon tasks are the tasks you don’t enjoy, so be sure that they will be a true gift to your future self before adding them to the list.
In other words, be the boss you’d be thrilled to work for.
The death of a thousand cuts
Each time you avoid Oberon – even if it’s subconscious – it’s like getting a little paper cut. If you give yourself the gift of Oberon Hour, it can be a true kindness, a huge relief.
Try it out – just for a little while (maybe 30 days?) and see if you feel more peacefulness and ease in your work.
If 30 days feels too daunting, how about just one week?
If an Oberon Hour feels too daunting, how about an Oberon Ten Minutes?
Photos by Kyeli Smith