Projects get stalled for any number of reasons.
The advice to “just start” is close, but not quite right.
What’s missing? Find out below…
The dreaded project. You know the one. The one that’s just sitting there, not starting. Maybe it’s hiding in the closet, in the garage, under a pile of papers, or sitting in plain sight, quietly mocking…
For me, it was the balcony, its planks of wood sitting in disarray, after an emergency unclogging of a hidden drain.
Should I go fix it now?
<sigh> I’ve had a long day. Maybe I could just play a board game instead?
Getting started can be difficult. Whether it is a huge looming project, putting a check in the mail, or starting the dishes, somewhere there’s a hitch.
One useful recommendation from Getting Things Done is to consider a concrete next action, some small thing you can actually envision yourself doing next.
But sometimes, I’ll go even a step lighter.
Instead, I only:
Picture a next action
I don’t even have to do the work. I only picture it.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, my tasks complete, ready to relax, I saw the dreaded project… “Work on Balcony”.
We were stuck. We didn’t know if we had the bit needed to take out this one type of screw. Would we need to buy it?
So, I thought, what if I were to photograph the screw and take that to the hardware store?
So taking a photo was the next action.
Then I thought, Ok, it’s the end of the day. Maybe I could still actually take that photo before relaxing.
I went ahead and took the picture, but then stopped by my toolbox to take a look just in case I actually had it. That way, I could save a trip to the store.
I found something that might work.
To test it, I used it on one screw. It worked!
Maybe I’ll do another…
And, well… I bet you can guess that it became the afternoon project. What’s more, since the day was already clear, I had no worries of derailing other things.
Once again, I rather enjoyed it.
Our systems do well when they can accommodate us, to grow and shrink, to expand and collapse to meet the desires, whims, and flows of the moment, but somehow also nourish our stalled projects until they bloom.
It may seem like a lot to demand of a system. But it is possible. And maybe you can start yours by picturing a next action…
PS In reality, there can be many more than one stalled project. Thinking of the many can be so overwhelming. So why not choose one? Maybe something without a deadline. Can you picture what that concrete next action is? Maybe write that down as a task. Or maybe give it that little nudge. I wonder where it might take you.
Productivity is many things. For some, it is about doing a lot in a little time.
But, truly, productivity is so much more. It is about:
- Setting yourself up for success.
- Being focused where you want to be.
- Doing things that you find meaningful.
- Being creative, sometimes even in harsh environments.
- Forging your own paths.
- Finding your voice and delivering it well.
- Knowing and actively deciding on your obligations.
- Knowing where and how to say “no”.
- Avoiding procrastination.
Too often, many of us fall into just going along with and fighting whatever the world throws at us. “Go with the flow!”, we say. Meanwhile, we might think, “I’d like to do that one thing. Maybe one day I will.” The days go by. The goal never arrives, and then we wonder why or blame circumstance.
But when we learn to take charge of our lives and the world
around us, we start living life with intention.
Of course, striking out may seem scary. It takes courage to live life with purpose and on purpose. Roadblocks and worries, fears and concerns show up everywhere.
This is my passion. I want to help you to find that sense of your own unique play to meet the world so that you can:
- Create a life that is yours.
- Find and follow an inner guide in a way that works for you and those you care for.
- Decide on your obligations and meet them while building the world you want.
Ah, the New Years’ Resolution… It’s that time of year where many of us decide to improve ourselves. With a loud proclamation of intention, we take several steps forward and, just as often, fall on our collective faces somewhere in the coming weeks or months. Our...
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