Scary Hour: A Ritual for Getting Sh*t Done

Scary Hour: A Ritual for Getting Sh*t Done

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by Janine Mulone

We are all familiar with tasks that linger on the bottom of our to-do list for weeks at a time. You know the ones - the annoying errand, the intimidating phone call, the follow up needed to get answers to a question we are low-key scared of. These are the same tasks that, after you check one off your list, you feel simultaneously light as a feather and a little embarrassed that something “so simple” took you so long.

This superblend of dread and procrastination is anything but laziness. Call it burnout, or a symptom of executive dysfunction, resistance around tackling these mundane monsters is prevalent. And it’s about time we face them head on in a weekly ritual called Scary Hour. 

I had noticed this cycle before, but the pandemic only made it more noticeable. I would recognize some kind of life admin that needed to be done, experience full body resistance, and then spend more time lamenting than it would take to just do the damn thing (usually 15 min or less). At the risk of sounding like a corny millennial (probably too late already!), I was struggling to adult.

There were calls I had to make, appointments that needed scheduling, bills that required follow up, and a growing pile of returns that needed to be shipped ASAP before the window closed & that money was gone forever. 

Around the time that my strug to funcsh was getting out of control, I had started time blocking my work day. I set up recurring times in my daily calendar for inbox management, individual client work, writing etc. It was helping a lot, because it was reducing the amount of decision making and context switching in my day - a fancy name for all the shifting between tasks, apps and projects we all mistake for “multi-tasking”.

Ever the Capricorn moon, I decided “life admin” was a perfectly reasonable block to add to my calendar, and started reserving an hour per week (for me, Thursday afternoons) to tackle some of those  to-do list bugaboos. It became known as Scary Hour.

Let’s start with the “rules” of Scary Hour:

  1. Check your ambition at the door. Scary hour is not about making progress on larger scale projects or initiatives, it’s designed to clear the mental clutter so you can handle the big stuff later.
  2. Put it at a recurring time on your calendar, and keep it to 3 tasks max per session. You don’t want to make it so scary that you never return, and there’s always next week. ;) 
  3. A little treat is an important part of this. You must reward your bravery! I like to crack a fun bev (Kombucha? Diet coke? Fancy seltzer?) and take my dog outside for a bit - leaving all those screens and notifications behind.

Now that you’ve got an idea about the general flow of this sacred time block, let’s add a little magic - because a) it’s more fun and b) we want to do everything we can to amplify our efforts and set the stage for smooth to-do list checking. This is meant to be a ritual after all, not simply a power hour.

There are a lot of tools you can use to set the stage for Scary Hour, and I encourage you to use your intuition to find what feels right for you. If you’re a tarot girlie, grab the Knight of Wands and/or Strength out of your tarot deck as a reminder to take swift and brave action. Prefer crystals? You can’t go wrong with a Carnelian, or perhaps Kyanite if you have phone calls to make and need to summon communicative confidence. I also like to clear the room after Scary Hour to say goodbye to any ghosts of anxiety - you could do this by clapping your hands, playing a power ballad of your choice or, of course, spraying a little Banish.

At the risk of being too prescriptive, I have two final suggestions to set you up for success on this journey to administrative freedom. First, I fundamentally believe that hard tasks deserve soft surroundings when possible. I am not above changing into sweatpants or working on this list from bed. There is no need to be more uncomfortable than you already are. 

I also find that keeping a special Scary Hour to-do list can be helpful. Not only will this save you from using your memory as a holding cell, but it will cut down on the decision making time when your weekly date with dread approaches. As you build the muscle of approaching these tedious tasks more easily, you may also turn to this list to proactively fill the 10 min before your next meeting or time waiting for the bus. What a world!

So here’s to Scary Hour, the unsung hero of the weekly routine. It might not be glamorous, and it’s definitely not sexy, but it’s damn effective. So go forth, brave souls, and be assured that yes, you can do hard things, even if the hard thing is finally booking that dentist appointment.



The days of the week carry just as much energy and symbolism as the months of the year or the phases of the moon, and that can be helpful for witches who like to time their spells with the vibe of the moment!Inside you'll find practices, associations and allies for each day of the week to help you infuse every day with magic.