“I have a whole list of things I want to do, but when I do finally have time to get to it, I don’t know where to begin or I don’t feel like doing it so I do nothing.”
I hear this from clients all the time and I can relate to it myself. Can you? For many of the people I talk to a day like this leaves them feeling bad about the lack of work they got done and even worse about their own lack of motivation and drive. They think something must be wrong and what I’d like to suggest today is that in fact, nothing has gone wrong at all.
Instead, your brain is doing exactly what it does best and what it’s supposed to do. It’s being efficient. It’s making sure not to expend too much energy where it’s not critical. It wants to be efficient because you need it to be prepared and alert for so many things thoughout the day, so it picks and chooses the things that are critical. This is how we as humans survived during less civilized times and today it’s how we manage the extensive amount of information and stimulus that is available to us every second.
That project you’ve been thinking about where you clean out the kids’ toys and then re-decorate the play room? It’s not an immediate emergency. If you don’t do it today, there are no major consequences. Not to mention, diving in will require you to do some serious thinking about where to begin and how to do it most effectively. It requires more steps than your mind can comprehend right now and there is a lot of unknown about what that might look like. Your mind decides it’s not critical and it’s not efficient and it talks you out of doing it.
So what’s a girl to do?
Don’t worry…you can do this. First, understand that your lack of action doesn’t mean you are lazy or that anything is wrong. Beating yourself up for it will only add to your lack of desire to get started.
Then, do a little pre-project planning on an entirely different day. Goals are important but they can feel overwhelming and create this paralysis if not broken down. Set a time and date for when you want the playroom organized, and then reverse engineer. Perhaps you want the playroom re-done by July 26th at 5pm. This gives you 8 weeks to complete the work. Now set mini-goals for each week. Perhaps week 1 you will clean out the toy box. Week 2 you’ll tackle the bookshelves. You get the idea. By week 5 perhaps you’re on to planning out the re-decorating and week 6 is painting. Breaking it down into small weekly tasks shows your brain it’s not all that overwhelming after all.
Finally, set aside specific times and at the beginning of each week and plan exactly what you will do during that time. I recommend planning more time slots than you actually need so you can account for when other emergencies pull you away. Expect that the kids will probably interfere and plan for it so that you’re not frustrated when it happens. If you plan to work for 30 minutes two days a week, block off four 30-minute slots on your calendar. If every Saturday night you take a little time to plan out and calendar exactly what you will do, then when the time arises you’ll know exactly where to begin and you won’t have to think so hard about it.
Some of this might seem basic to some of you who are excellent planners, but to those of us who do not naturally think this way, it means the difference between a pending project that makes you feel guilty every time you think about it, and a goal you are excited about diving into.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments! I know you’re reading because I hear from you through emails, in our membership and through other communication. Please share in the comments what your project/goals are and how you’re going to tackle them! We would all love to learn from what your brilliant mind comes up with.
Have a fantastic week.