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Often when we look at the whole project, task, goal, or sales quota, it can seem too big and overwhelming. This is especially true if we are looking to accomplish something we haven’t done before. Other times, our mind can go crazy with potential consequences or possible outcomes causing paralysis and stress. We can be afraid of what we might find out or discover. It just becomes too much to handle. Often times, we don’t know who to ask for advice as we don’t want to use our regular circle of professionals. We don’t want them to know that we might have done something wrong and then be judged professionally. This leads to procrastination. We put it off and make excuses. If we look at this task differently and create a series of choices about how or when we do it, it can make a significant difference to our ability to start.

7 Ways to Get Started:

1. Break it down to smaller sections. Give yourself an allocated amount of time to review it, maybe 1 hour.
2. Choose to start in the middle of the project or with the easiest section first. If this task involves others, such as an employee or strategic partner, ask them where they would like to start rather than telling them.
3. Create a small collaborative group. Three or four people that can work collaboratively to build momentum.
4. Have a mentor, coach, or accountability partner.
5. Get professional advice from someone outside of your normal circle, if you are not sure of the consequences. Put your mind at rest and face the dilemma. It will only get worse or cause you more stress if you don’t. Most times, it’s our mind that causes the ‘what if’s’ and it turns out to be minor.
6. Create an emotional attachment – the motivation and desire outweigh the procrastination, fear, or overwhelm.
7. If it’s repetitive, boring or not something you like or are familiar with, if possible, delegate it to someone else to start it.

Below are 2 examples…

Example 1 – Email:

The inbox is so full of emails, your heart sinks and you hate looking at it. Perhaps start by dealing with the first ones that come in, but those first ones are complicated or need some thought. Instead of sticking with it, or closing the inbox down, choose to move it to an ‘Action Folder’. Move on to another email, start in the middle of the inbox or, clear the ones that are easy first. When standing in line at the grocery store, go through and delete the emails that are spam. Unsubscribe to spam and switch off notifications from social media.

Create a feeling of being in control rather than the feeling of overwhelm. Break down a complicated email by scheduling it in your calendar to deal with at a set time and add a few notes, thoughts or suggestions that might help tackle it.

How about organizing emails while watching a fun favorite movie, with a favorite snack or treat? Often the emails that are old are just a case of moving to an archive folder or deleting. You can get through many obsolete or trivial emails this way. Those that need thought, move to another folder. Create subject folders, examples – client, newsletter folders for those that you want to read, but not just now.
If you have an assistant or, if appropriate, pay your teenagers, delegate the initial task to them by maybe getting them to set up folders for you and move emails into categories, such as years.

Example 2 – New Client Proposal:

You have a super exciting proposal to create, but you’ve never done one like this before. As much as you want the sale, the proposal seems daunting, causes stress and gets put to one side to ‘think about it’. Often, this leads to the proposal being done late at night or at the last minute and takes the enjoyment out of potentially winning the customer. It causes a reluctance to go through this kind of experience again. Problem is, this impacts sales and growth of the business. Decide to get help from someone else – a partner, co-worker or friend can give a little support that enables you to move forward and bring the excitement back. Start with the end in mind. What did you promise? What did they ask for? Then work backwards with a series of questions such as: what will it take to make that, do that, create that. Look at the length of time it will take to achieve the outcome and the workforce and effort needed. Cost it out section by section and then create the proposal around the outcomes.

When we grow and develop, we will keep coming up against procrastination, have challenges and make mistakes. The key is to have courage and determination to face them head on, making a plan on how to tackle it, and then execute the plan. We hold a lot of judgement around tasks that are unfinished or not started. Feel in control and use these 7 steps to guide you.

Time Management Tip to Leverage Your Day

Know when you are most focused, most aware. Are you a night owl or an early bird? There are times of the day when you can just get on and do things. Then there are other times when it is much harder. Know when that is for you and what the best tasks to do at those times are. It comes back to planning again!


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