Do you procrastinate when you don’t know where to start? Whether it’s a project, conversation or decision, my 5 suggestions today are to help with Procrastination Cause #2: It’s Too Big.
So that I can share strategies you can experiment with, this is a blog series. Talking about procrastination is like talking about struggles with “time management.” It’s too big to solve for. You have to break it down in some way so you can zero in on the solution that’s going to work for you.
One cause of procrastination and suggestions for it are in each article. [If you’re not signed up for the blog, you can do that here, so you don’t have to remember to return for the other articles.]. The 4 causes of procrastination I see most often are these.
Procrastination Cause #1: Difficult Emotions or Conversations
Procrastination Cause #2: It’s Too Big. [Today’s article.]
Your Question before You Start
What are you aware you’re procrastinating on ? Or recall a task you know you procrastinated on recently so you can figure out a redo for the future. Something you dreaded. Put off until midnight the night before. A task that may have caused friction with employees, business partners, or at home.
With your example in mind, mentally test out how these solutions might work and decide which one you can experiment with.
Procrastination Cause #2: Where to Start When It Feels Too Big.
5 suggestions to combat these scenarios.
- You’ve just returned from your bootcamp for the field you work in, or from an inspiring conference. You have SO many ideas that you don’t know where to start to implement any. That’s the “too big” feeling. Step #1: Get it all out of your head. Write down or mindmap every idea. Start there; don’t prioritize or judge. Declutter your mind. Step #2: Then lay out which ideas can happen and when. What makes sense for timing? For example, you may choose to focus on one big idea per quarter. Or ideas that sounded great at the conference … well, now back to reality, the idea really isn’t so wonderful. So, declutter your list.
- Maybe you’re procrastinating because it’s new to you and so it feels really big. You’ve never had to deal with this before, so you aren’t sure where to start. Step #1: When have you been hit with something brand new and had difficulty getting started? Step #2: What did you do then to move ahead? Example: For me, with a new idea, I will first ask people what they think or want. With a little knowledge about how something might fly, I will get to it more quickly. That cuts through how big it feels.
- Whatever it is, it’s too vague. You vaguely think: You want to make better use of your days. You want to generate more client leads. You want to start speaking to market your business. Step #1: Take the “I want” one more step towards clarity. So, “I want more time to think about my business.” Now, you can think about when and how much. “I want to find more clients through therapists.” Where, how many, what specialties, and how. Get specific and you’ll see your next steps more clearly and the next action feels smller than the original idea. Step #2: Ask why. “I want to start speaking, because if I do that, then ….” Get clarity on what and why and you’ll get started.
- You sense that it’s more complicated, but you haven’t slowed down enough to look at it yet. For example, I kept procrastinating on writing out my packing list for trip to speak to the Japan Association of Life Organizers, and I couldn’t figure out why. One day I sat down to write my packing list and it was SO clear. I realized: I’m traveling internationally, don’t speak the language, will be traveling alone, with a very long flight, a huge jet lag potential, to give two talks which will be simultaneously interpreted, etc. Too many unknowns! But I didn’t realize it, until I wrote down what I knew for sure, plus the questions or unknowns. Then I started researching what I didn’t know and moved ahead, chipping away at one unknown at a time. I wrote about this in a newsletter article. You can read the article or sign up for the newsletter here.
- If you don’t know why it’s feeling big, start from where you are. Take out your app, notepad or mind mapping software and start writing up what you DO know and what you NEED to know. You’ll clearly and visually see what’s causing you to procrastinate. This works on projects, difficult conversations, big decisions and more. And “start from where you are” was one of my three themes this year!
My recent newsletter had 2 articles about making decisions. You can read that here and sign up for future editions, which are sent every 6 weeks.
P.S. If you need to figure out why you’re procrastinating and would like some coaching around what would work for you – your own way to comfortably make decisions, whether at work, at home, through big life changes, for downsizing or due to ADD/ADHD- please call and take advantage of a 20-30 minute, no charge phone call. Get some answers, ideas and decide whether more time with me is needed. Sue@OrganizeNH.com or 603.554.1948