This tip, about getting clear about where to begin, is one to get you organized, so that you know exactly what it is you need to do to actually be productive. What are the physical steps you need to take to make a difference to your to do list, today.
Exactly Where to Begin
If we go back to your BIG list that you created after my previous post, and take a look at the items on the list, you’ll notice that some of them aren’t actually physical steps that you can take. When my clients get the full list written out, and then pay attention to the actual items listed, they begin to notice that some are actually projects, rather than actions that can be taken. So if you have an item on your list like clean out the hall closet, it may well be a project that will take a little organizing before you can complete, or even start it.
If that closet is full of coats, hats and even sports gear that you’ve been meaning to get rid of, then you’ll need to decide on where it’s going. You could donate it all at a thrift store, or sell it on Craigslist, or perhaps donate to the local recreation center – and maybe some of each. All valid options, but also decisions that need to be made before you’ll be able to get the job finished. Until you decide the first physical action that needs to be taken it’s probably unlikely that this one will move off the list.
That Might be a Project
The hall closet hasn’t stayed full because its a simple task that you don’t want to do, its a little more complex than that, and I would guess that’s why jobs like that don’t get done when you want them to be. Instead of having to consider everything about the task, just to get started on that closet, making a project list is the way to break it down into physical actions. Any task that has multiple steps belongs on your project list. Once its there you then focus on breaking it down into the steps required, and as you can, you add them to your daily to do list (We’ll discuss that one next week).
Once you realize that something is a project, and that there is a series of small and manageable steps that need to be done to get it completed, it becomes much more attainable, and you’ll have the added sense of achievement of crossing a whole lots of steps and the overall project off your project list. And as the steps are small, you’ll be much likely to take one of those simple steps more quickly and easily, instead of trying to bite off more than you can chew, by trying to tackle the whole closet in one step.
Any project will seem much more manageable when you break it down into simple physical actions, and then make a start on those actions. As you get more clarity on your projects and tasks, you’ll notice that where to begin becomes clear and simple. Share your thoughts or experience in the comments below if you’ve tried this. I’d love to hear how its working for you.