A Pear-able about Getting Things Done


No, I am not turning into a foodie blog or a cooking blog…trust me ~ this will be about business, goal-setting and life 😉

I’ve recently joined a produce co-op that I love (Bountiful Baskets, if you are curious enough to Google it) and we get the opportunity every few weeks to ‘add on’ something that is in season at a great savings. So, on one particularly ambitious order day recently, I tacked on a case of 36 lbs of pears to my order.

My mom raised me to know how to can, preserve and ‘put up’ produce from our garden and the farm stands, so these pears were begging to be made into pear butter and preserves! Yum!

Last weekend, right off the bat, I made pear butter and it was delicious! But then the week progressed in a blur and my pears were ripening at warp speed. I just couldn’t manage to ‘fit in’ the time to put the rest of them up.

I decided that today (Friday), I would take some time while the kids were in school to jar the old-fashioned preserves, so while I was lying in bed last night, unwinding after a few exhausting days…I pulled up the recipe I had bookmarked.

Uh-oh. The old-fashioned recipe I’d been dying to try required that the pears soak overnight. Not only did they need to soak, they had to be peeled, cored and sliced. DAD-GUMMIT!!!

Let me be clear. It was 9:20pm when this hit me. So, I had some choices.

  • I could choose a different recipe that didn’t require the prep.
  • I could choose to wait until today to prep them and delay my preserves until Saturday.
  • I could get up and get it done.

You know what I did. I got up.

Barefoot and in pajamas, I padded into the kitchen after a grueling few days, already unwound, tired and at this point, maybe even cranky.

There were 24 lbs of pears staring at me from the produce box. Daunting to say the least!

So, I started ‘chunking down the goal’.

  1. I chose a large bowl and decided that would be what I soaked them in. I was NOT going to wimp out and choose a tiny bowl to weasel out of the job.
  2. I put about 12 lbs of pears (half of my box) in the sink…it looked like a mountain, but after paring them, I figured they were about right to fill my bowl.
  3. I looked at the clock and decided to peel and chop until 10pm, the bowl was full or until the sink is empty – whichever came first!

Guess what? I instantly had relief! I had 3 goals…either one was okay and would still be a job done.

Then, it became a little bit of a game…”I only have to work at this until 10. Just hang in there until 10, Carrie – You’ve got this!”

Or — “Hmmmm I wonder if I could peel these even faster than that and finish BEFORE 10? You’ve got this, Carrie!”

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fun. Looking back, I should not have waited until I was low energy to have started, but it was what it was 😉

How did it end?

At 10pm, I was relieved and excited!! I could stop! But, guess what?? There were only 3 pears left in the sink and my momentum was such that I could NOT put them back in the box!! I peeled them too!! My bowl was full, my sink was empty, I was SO proud! I went to bed THRILLED that I had set that goal, finished the task and could wake up to pears ready to preserve! Wahoooooo!

Carrie, please hurry and tell us what you’re trying to tell us…

  1. Setting 3 goals let me win either way! (Bowl full, 10pm or sink empty – either of those meant the job was done!)
  2. Making myself get up and ‘just do it’ – was actually less energy than dreading it, beating myself up about it and delaying it until another day.
  3. Because I was fully immersed in pear juice and MESSY…I could NOT talk on the phone, Facebook, tweet, check emails or any other time-wasters. I was FOCUSED on that ONE task to completion.

Please connect the dots for us…we know it’s coming…

  1. Set ‘bumper goals’ – so that if you finish Benchmark A, B or C – you STILL have a win and can stop or celebrate! This gave me a ‘game’ mentality and I was actually curious to see which goal I would hit first! Maybe I’m a geek, but it made my task more fun!
  2. Just Do It – Nike was onto something for sure! The energy of tackling the task is easier than dreading and delaying it.
  3. Fully immerse yourself! Turn off incoming distractions. Close your door. Shut down applications. Focus. You deserve it.

Today, I’m happy to report that the preserves are jarred and cooling. I rested like a champ last night, with a really great feeling of accomplishment. And I’ve been applying this to my business tasks today too…

  • What are some of your best tips for whittling away at your tasks?
  • What do you think about bumper goals and mind games? How will you apply this?
  • What is one A-ha you got from this PEAR-able?

Please…comment below and share with your social networks!




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21 thoughts on “A Pear-able about Getting Things Done

  1. Love this statement: “just do it” was actually less energy than dreading it, beating myself up about it and delaying it until another day. ~ That’s a great take-away for me. Thanks for sharing. Excellent advice!

  2. Melissa… Just gleaned that same sentiment from Grant Cardone’s 10x book. “When you have fear or dread re an action…that is confirmation that the faster you act, the better”

  3. My first visit to your site. Paul Evans shared this story on FB. It’s fascinating and delightful to meet you. You have a very compelling story. Thanks for sharing it! Thanks for breaking it all down for us. Step by step by step… to accomplishment!

  4. I like that you made the task into a game. I have a (male) friend who makes EVERYTHING task oriented into a game. Maybe it’s his background as a QB in college but it always amuses me. Maybe I’m just boring. I’ll have to try the game thing – and definitely will set multiple goals in order to make winning easier.

    PS – we just picked up our BB today and have about 5 pounds of pears (we traded away our cauliflower and broccoli…LOL). Nothing quite as daunting as yours.

  5. Wahoo! Yes, I’ve read that men are better at the “game vs myself” tasks!
    Have fun with your pears! Finishing my last bit today

  6. Hi Carrie ! It’s very nice to meet you. I started reading your book “Barefoot Executive” and I wanted to say a big thank you for writing that book. I am a third of my way through it and I am getting totally blessed by it. Thanks for this post also. I am going to put it to the test with my everyday tasks ! God bless !

  7. Hey Carrie – I finally learned to shut my email down while doing other work. Incredible distraction to be pulled away from a task because a new email comes in.

  8. Hey Carrie,

    I recently discovered your blog, and I love your approach – it’s amazing how much you can say with a ‘simple’ story about pears. ‘Just do it’ is a really strong point you are making, as I realize we often don’t realize how much time, mental and emotional energy we ‘put down the drain’ while hesitating and postponing stuff. The gamification tip on setting goals is spot on, too!

  9. I just found you on Twitter and clicked into this article. I love your writing style and the practical lessons presented in such a creative way.
    As a former procrastinator (with occasional relapses) I’m always looking for strategies like this one.

    My father-in-law had a photocopied meme on his fridge–back before the Internet or anyone heard of memes.

    “If you have to eat a live toad, don’t look at it too long.”
    “If you have to eat several live toads, choose the big one first.”

    I’ve tried to remember this advice when I’m faced with less-than-fun tasks. Toads don’t get any tastier if you let them hang around your house for days.

  10. Wonderful concept Carrie and a refreshing writing style too. Eric Deeter just turned me on to this post so thanks Eric! I’ve just started doing something similar when I dread starting something. I tell myself I’m only going to take ONE SMALL STEP and then I go from there.

    Yesterday, I didn’t want to work on a new project so I decided that I would just open a new file and do the prep work but that I didn’t have to actually start working on it. Of course, I started working on the project until I was half done and actually had something to show my client. Sweet!

    Some more great NIKE ad copy I use for inspiration: If you went for a run when you first started thinking about it, you’d be back by now. 😉

    Best wishes.

  11. The AHA I got was that it is better to set the goals, focus and do it, rather than just sit and think (complain) about what you should have, could have or would like to have done… and then get absolutely NOTHING accomplished! THANKS CARRIE!

  12. Hey Carrie:

    Another great article full of practical and applicable intel — thanks so much for taking the time to consider how you work, how it may help others and connecting the dots. I LOVE the rule of 3s and am a big believer in applied focus <-they are two of the five slices of the intentional organization pie! <-had to get in a foodie reference! 😉