When you’re broke, it’s hard to look at your bank account, let alone create a budget.

When your task system is out of whack, it can be hard to open the app, let alone re-build it.

Where do you even start?

A mess of unfinished projects, decaying hopes and dreams, all scream, “you don’t know what you’re doing,” “you can’t things done”, and “just give up now and go watch a show already, would you?”

Building a new list, reminder set, or tasks for a project can be terrifying. Starting involves the recognition that things have been a mess. Piles of paper strewn about, scattered ideas here and there, and no real way of navigating the moment all confound.

The target is both simple and difficult to reach:

Create a system you can trust to clearly present what you feel is important when and where it would be useful and engaging.

But how do you do that?

The key is in the word “trust”.

Trust, at least as I define it, is:

A belief, developed in time, that something will continue behaving as it has been such that it might be relied upon.

The trouble is that, at this point, you may only be able to rely on it not working. However, a feeling of hopelessness is hardly something one wants to rely on.

But this misses the fact that trust is built upon risk, and better yet, measured risk.

It can be far too easy to dive headlong into whatever new system du jour. Particularly for one who has a tendency to wander, locking into something new and fancy can be a delightfully fun and even relieving enterprise.

Unfortunately, doing so skips past the gentle iteration of a well-grown, well-developed system.

What Do You Trust Now?

Instead, consider taking a close look at whatever you have now, even if it’s a pile of scattered sticky notes that you can hardly make sense. Even if your system is limping along, that’s fine.

Reflect on what does work. What repeats every day? Even if that’s as simple as waking up, you can use that habit as a center around which to connect and develop a new habit.

That seed of trust gives you central location from which you can gently grow a system for your intentions over time.

Not coincidentally, my books and courses all begin small and gently:
Creating Flow with OmniFocus begins with a single repeating task. The idea is to begin and grow at the reader’s natural pace.
Waves of Focus begins with the Anchor Technique, a simple pen and paper method of managing the whims of the Now. Everything starts with where you are Now.
Taking Smart Notes with DEVONthink guides you to building even a huge database, but it starts with a single note.

Whenever you’re ready, here are 5 ways I can help you:

  • Find calm focus one step at a time here  (2,200+ students)
  • Master OmniFocus, the power tool for task management here  (15,000+ copies sold)
  • Organize your digital life and have your ideas and files at your fingertips here (2,400+ copies sold)
  • Go beyond productivity to find mastery and meaningful work here  (2,500+ copies sold)
  • Guide the power of a wandering mind here  (50+ live students)
  • Kourosh