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What is that one big, overwhelming task you are staring down? You know the one – you recognize it because it just seems so enormous that there is no possible way you will ever even get started working on it. Forget about actually completing the job! Did you know there is actually a secret to getting the job done?
Yes, there is a secret. Here it is: start.
The secret to getting ahead or completing a job, no matter how overwhelming it may seem, is ALWAYS the same.
The Secret of Getting Ahead is Getting Started
Easier said than done?
Yes and no. If you think you can dive into any big endeavor without a plan and just plow through it, chances are you will find yourself stuck part-way in. And frustrated. And even MORE overwhelmed than you were before you began.
But with just a little planning (really – just a little) you can take control of the situation, and you can start and work into it…and finish.
The Secret of Getting Started is Gaining Control
The secret to gaining control over anything that seems overwhelming is to break that task down into smaller and smaller steps. If you really want to simplify it, take a sheet of paper and create a mindmap similar to the picture below. In the center bubble, write down the big, overwhelming task. Connect that to smaller tasks, and break those down still further.
Eventually, you will reach a point where each individual action no longer feels beyond your scope. Then, take all of those small actions, put them in approximate order, and do the first one.
After you complete the first action, move on to the second, and then the third. Do not think about the project in its entirety, just keep moving through the small steps. Your only task is the next task.
If you find you need to make adjustments or revise a few things once you are into your project, that’s normal. Just like the steps don’t have to be in perfect order from the beginning, they can be adjusted at any time. Make the necessary changes, and then get back to work, one small step at a time.
A Real-Life Example
What does this look like in real life? Well, let’s say you need to clean out your basement but it’s full of ten years of “I’ll deal with this stuff later”. Whoa, put the brakes on that, there is no way you can handle cleaning out the basement. Am I crazy???
Nope. You just need to reframe the process. Try not to see the basement as a whole. Can you break it into segments? For example: Today I will clean out the laundry area. Tomorrow I will install shelves for storage. Wednesday I will go through all the books and magazines. Thursday is for old sports equipment. Friday for all of the clothes I’ve put in storage boxes and forgotten about.
And then break it into even smaller tasks. Don’t think about shelves all at once. Plan it out. First I will measure where I want to put shelves. Then I will clear everything out of that area. Then I will go to The Home Depot and purchase the shelves. Then I will construct the shelves.
Measuring for shelves is such a small task that it doesn’t seem like it will help get the basement cleaned out. But it is the first step in a process that will make a big difference.
Related Post: Challenge Your Fear of Failure: Do Something Hard
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time