The first thing I’m going to ask is for you to not get down on yourself because you don’t know where to start.
To me, not knowing where to start is just a sign that you have a lot to do. It means that you care about a lot of different things and that a lot of those things are very important to you. Those facts are not problems in themselves, and it certainly doesn’t mean anything bad about you.
I can hear your objections to my perspective: ‘No, I messed up! Again! Why do I keep doing this? I’m doing it all wrong! I need to get tough with myself.’
We can talk about some of that in a different post but for right now, can we just go with kindness so we can get you unstuck?
Seriously. Here’s the thing: You might need to make different choices in the future. You may need different plans or systems. Right now, though, you are where you are and looking backwards or forwards isn’t going to help you.
I know that you have stuff that needs to be done, or else you wouldn’t be here reading this post.
Step One: Write Everything Down
Well, you can type it if you want to. Just get it out of your head and into some sort of list. Do this as quickly as you can so your brain can have a little break.
Step Two: Look For Priorities
Is anything due right away? Is there any reason to do one thing before something else?
You don’t have to explain those reasons to anyone, and they don’t even have to make sense. But, if there is a reason, any reason, use it to decide your priorities.
Step Three: Find A Place to Start
What about if you made your list, looked for priorities, and you still can’t see anywhere to start?
Good news! You can start ANYWHERE!
If you don’t know *where* to start, then it really doesn’t matter what you choose. The important thing is that you START.
You can start at the top of the list. You can start at the bottom of the list. You can roll a set of dice to choose tasks. You can tear your list into pieces, toss them into a bowl, and pull out tasks one by one.
You can set a timer and work 5 minutes on one task and then move to the next and keep going like that until you run out of time.
CAVEAT: Make sure to include rest as one of your ‘tasks’. Even if you have a lot of work to do, rest isn’t something you do when you are finished everything, it’s part of the cycle of work. Or, perhaps work is part of the cycle of rest. Either way, include downtime, please.
Step Four: Adjust As Needed
If, once you start working, you realize that there is actually a priority item, it’s okay to switch tasks. Sometimes, it takes the process of getting started to help you figure things out. That is totally fine and you can change your work plans to suit yourself at any point. The only rule is that you can’t be mean to yourself about not realizing it sooner!
The key thing here is to identify that it’s OK to just start working on any thing at any time and to just keep going. You don’t have to have a perfect plan or strategy. You don’t have to have all the answers.
All you have to do is decide to start. Or, as it says in one of my favourite quotes:
‘The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.’ ~Amelia Earhart
You just need to find ways to make it easier to decide to act. <3