When we have a chaotic schedule, it’s often all we can do to stay on top of all the stuff that comes at us during each day. The next email, the request from our boss, the homework that is due tomorrow. Our mind is at its limit!
That doesn’t leave much room in our brain to process through some of the more difficult tasks. Some tasks, especially writing tasks or projects with multiple steps, need thought. We have to figure out what we want to say or what we want the finished product to look like or what we need to do first.
📝 I had a client who had to complete a proposal for work. It was lengthy and involved getting information from others. For weeks she procrastinated! With a deadline approaching, she started to panic. But with all the other responsibilities and tasks she had to complete in her day, she kept putting this project on the back burner. She didn’t feel like she had the time to slow down and figure it out! When things came to the point at which she had to get started or risk missing the deadline, she brought it to me and we talked it through. I had her take a few deep breaths and then visualize the steps she needed to complete to get the proposal done. With some guidance, she was able to verbalize every step and we made a list of what she needed to do first, second, third and so forth. After she had some clarity, she was able to jump right into the first step. That gave her momentum to keep going. She finished the proposal on time but wished she had avoided the stress by starting sooner.
Some tasks require extra brainpower. And that requires us to slow down and pause for a moment. But we don’t want to slow down… we don’t have time to slow down! And yet, if we don’t, we may never have the clarity needed to get started on the next task. It’s a vicious circle!
A couple things happen when you slow down to organize your thoughts. First, the initial step becomes clear. With a complex project, you may not know where to start because there are so many steps that are all jumbled in your mind. It’s like a complicated knot in your shoelace. The harder you pull, the worse it gets. But if you pause and take a closer look, you usually see where to start and it makes the process of undoing the knot easier and faster. Second, when you slow down to organize your thoughts, you gain clarity on the process and the project doesn’t seem so big. Suddenly, what felt like eating an elephant seems doable!
👉 You can organize your thoughts on your own, or with a friend, a colleague or a coach. And depending on your preferred learning style, it may be helpful to talk about it, draw/write it out or picture it in your mind. Try these hacks for your next complex task and then get started!
Getting Started Hack #29 – Visualize
If you have a complex project, it can be very helpful to visualize the end result. Close your eyes, take a couple deep breaths to clear your mind and picture the finalized, completed project in your mind’s eye. If it’s a physical project (a clean closet, a craft/art project), think about the colors, the individual pieces and having everything in its place. If it’s a writing project, conjure up the image of having all the words written on the page as you hand the final piece to your boss or a client. Picture the smiles, feel the joy of completion. Now open your eyes, and get started!
Getting Started Hack #30 – Talk About It
Many, many women I work with process through their thoughts out loud. Unfortunately, most people also spend a lot of time working by themselves or caught up in their own heads. There’s power in ‘talking it out’. Find a friend, colleague or coach and share that you are having trouble getting started on a task. Talk through the details of the project and the steps needed for completion. Through conversation, you’ll gain clarity. And with that clarity you’ll be ready and motivated to get started!
Getting Started Hack #31 – Know Your ‘Why’
For some people, they struggle to get started on tasks that feel meaningless. For example, from time to time we have to fill out paperwork that doesn’t seem to serve any importance (DMV, doctor’s office). Ultimately, however, we want to be good citizens, healthy individuals and we strive for success and happiness. If you have a task that falls into this category, think a couple steps ahead and consider your ‘why’. Why is it important to you (or your kids or your workplace) to complete this task? If you complete it, what is the greater good? Know your why and get started!
Ready for some additional support? I’d love to learn more about your unique situation and help you figure out your first step. Reach out and schedule a free Discovery Session!