I know I’m not alone. The past few years have been a challenge for focus. I’m realistic and acknowledge that this will not change in the immediate future yet I still want to move both myself and my business forward.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the need to make immediate and endless decisions and continuously rank priorities. Shifting expectations of what can be done as well as what must be done can help projects regain momentum. I find that when I apply this principle, my progress often far exceeds my expectations.
I’ve developed a few tips of my own as I’ve worked on applying this concept to my own life. Here are the three I think are the most useful.
1 – Describe as if to delegate
As you describe a task, write as if you need to delegate it to another individual. In a way, you are. You’re delegating it to your future self, the one who will complete the task, not to the self who would rather sit outside and read all day. For example – “Blog post” can have multiple meanings; it’s better to be as specific as possible: “Revise blog post from 2018-09-14 on breaking tasks to smaller bits”
2 – Make it shorter
If a planned task takes more than about 5 minutes than break it down into smaller shorter tasks. Drawing on the previous example, the list could be rewritten as:
- Revise blog post from 2018-09-14 on breaking tasks to smaller bits
- re-read blog post
- scribble new draft
- copy text from original post to Word
- revise text and incorporate changes from scribbled draft
- find featured image, format text
3 – Begin
Don’t over think how you’re going to accomplish the result; just start with the tools you have. Continuing with the previous example, I pulled up the text of the original post and after reading it, began scribbling my edits in a notebook. Is it my preferred method to edit my posts? No. But that shouldn’t stop me from working on rewriting a post. Reminding myself to start on the task and stop finding reasons why I shouldn’t or couldn’t is how it’s getting completed.
I’ve found this small movement is forward movement. I’m figuring things out and moving forward by actively working. Even if it’s in very small almost indiscernible increments.
Note: This is a 2022 update of a post initially published in 2018.