1 of the sun : to shine down with great heat and strength
Whether you’re staring down your overflowing storage area, glaring at your jam-packed garage, having a pity party over the idea of clearing mounds of paperwork, or standing at the precipice of your next groundbreaking due date…
You can beat down this project with some simple tips to get you started, keep you going, and take you past the finish line in record time. It’s easier than you think!
Begin at the beginning, but keep the end in mind
To say it another way, every journey begins with the first step. Remember when you were back in college and had finals looming; how did you make it through? Chances are, different people used varying coping mechanisms and may still be using some of the same. How successful were the methods you used?
• wait until the last day(s), drink a bunch of caffeine and pull all-nighters?
• start preparing earlier and post a message on your answering machine that you won’t be available for the next 3 weeks?
• give up, go in cold and hope for the best?
• ask for help from someone who was good in the subject?
• or something else…?
However you coped in the past, if you have a (or several) complicated objectives or deliverables on the horizon, you can change your perspective. If feelings of dread come up, consider viewing the situation as an opportunity to learn and improve your effectiveness, both of with may help reduce stress levels.
We build confidence with each victory (large or small). If the way you’ve coped in the past was healthy and worked for you, build upon it. If the past was unhealthy and didn’t work very well for you, pursue another way. Whatever the situation, we all know that you can’t finish the project if you don’t start it.
One of the most crucial steps in preparing for finals is opening the book. When you think about the project in front of you, ask yourself these three simple questions:
1 where’s your book
2 what’s keeping you from opening it
3 what do you need to do to get it open
Below are some tips and tricks to get you started.
Earmark specific time and resources
Because we’re human, and not robots, our emotions can get in the way. Sometimes, what holds us back is fear of the outcome or failure, which can show up as procrastination in a myriad of ways.
Create a specific time or set of times to work on your upcoming project, schedule it on your calendar, announce the plan and reason for it to your daily companions, turn off your phone ringer and email/text notifications, and stick to the plan.
When you feel yourself starting to get distracted, pulled in different directions, or sucked into lower priority side-bars, interrupt the pattern.
Set a 5-15 minute timer and do something you will feel good about to get your well-being back on track, and when the timer goes off, go back and try again. This concept goes back to the idea of making your bed in the morning…if you make your bed in the morning, you’ve accomplished your first goal of the day. The task was easy, and it sets the tone for your continued productivity.
Some quick things you can do to refresh and improve your:
• mental state: complete a simple chore or work task that you feel good about and is easy for you
• physical state: get some fresh air, do a mini exercise set, stretch, listen to a short motivational audio session
• emotional state: write down some other projects that felt daunting to you, and you achieved
• ability/skill state: call a mentor or someone who is good at what you’re attempting to accomplish
Automate your process
Are there rules, guidelines, play books, resources that you need to familiarize yourself with in order to be successful? If the thought of getting yourself up to speed feels like a project in itself, pluck up your courage and find a way to make it fun so you can get yourself started and best aligned for success. If you don’t ensure you’re on track from the beginning, you risk needless frustration at best, and dealing with the consequences of missing your goal date at worst.
Find people who have achieved what you are desiring to accomplish to point you in the right direction. Consider setting up a working session with someone who can mentor you? Are there online videos or audio sessions that can guide you along the way?
Think about how you can make your project run more efficiently now and in the future. Will this be a recurring task? Are there manual portions that you can turn into online forms? Would creating a spreadsheet of all the online entry information needed prior to entry be of value?
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill.
Author: Dawn Armstrong, MS, CSP, CIE