You’ve stared at that project on your list for days, weeks even. Looming large, the project drains energy, reminds you daily of something you “haven’t yet done – once again!”
You know you need to do it. You may know what the outcome needs to be. But getting your brain engaged to get started? Not happening.
But let’s count the ways we CAN engage our brain and there are some fun and creative ones here, from clients and from me.
The deal is that usually if you can get yourself into the project just a little bit, you’ll typically find out it’s not as big as you thought.
- tedious household chores;
- administrative work if you’re not much for details;
- strategy/planning work if you don’t think of yourself as a big picture thinker;
- those tasks at work you’re avoiding;
- that project you’re thinking you may not do such a great job at …
20 ways to to engage your brain around getting started.
- Stand up and work on the task.
- Choose music that fits the mood you need to be in – different music based on the task.
- Break it down into smaller steps. Just draw it and don’t do any work yet. Use color or something that’s fun for you. The picture is my approach. Each block is one step.
- Set your timer just for 5 minutes.
- Call a friend and ask her to check in with you in 5 minutes after you’ve started.
- Call a friend and have her STAY on the phone with you as you get the task started.
- Do something you love first, then move onto what you’re not thrilled about.
- Do the boring one first, knowing that when you’re done, you get to work on something you love to do.
- Work with someone else alongside you.
- Play music and work for as long as one favorite song lasts.
- Instead of making that tough phone call, just look up the phone # first. Stand when you do call. Or change rooms/locations.
- Change your environment somehow: take a walk to think through the steps; take a different route back to the office or to the client’s or the school.
- Answer this: what really works for you – where IS your brain engaged the most? How did you get to that point? What tools/supports did you use?
- Create -figuratively or literally – a picture of how things will be/look/feel when this project is done.
- Take a new perspective: before you work on decluttering your home, hire the Feng Shui consultant, the decorator, the designer. Let that aspect drive the decluttering.
- Break down the project into bits and pieces. This is a big one that works for many people, many styles. Bits and pieces allows you to feel satisfaction because you complete steps instead of a whole project or big task at home. Getting one step done gives you momentum for the next and so on.
- Talk out loud. What are your steps? Use a friend, organizing coach, your tape recorder – depending on whether or not you need other perspectives. If you try to sort out an issue in your head, and that just doesn’t work, try speaking out loud.
- A client shared with me David Burns “procrastination” exercise as a helpful tool to get started. It’s a series of questions to walk you through your thinking process. For example: “Weight the advantages of getting started today against the disadvantages. Which seems greater?”
- List what could go wrong. Where are the panic spots or potential crises and obstacles. On the other side of your page, list ways you can spot the issues and solve for them before they happen – or at least be far more ready to deal with them when they do.
- How does this task fit in with your personal values? Is there a way you can reframe the task, i.e., not “cleaning up the kitchen” but modeling household management skills for your children. Or getting these tasks done so you have time for you. Or your business, hobbies or friends. What’s important to you and how does this fit?
How do you get yourself started on difficult issues or projects? I’m curious to hear … and so might others.