What is that one item on your “to do” list that you KNOW you should do,
but it keeps getting pushed down because it seems too overwhelming? It’s so BIG, that it’s fallen off your list, but lingers in the background, haunting you every day. Other duties and opportunities come up and they seem good, so you say “yes” to each one or engage in what’s in front of you, instead of what is most important. It’s called the tyranny of the urgent, which means you are putting the seemingly urgent matters first and neglecting what is really important. What about the book you are supposed to write? the blog you should start? the phone call you have dreaded to make? the paperwork staring you in the face?
Here are three steps you can take to conquer that one daunting task. Give them a shot and see if you don’t succeed!
One: Make those steps bite-sized
First, review your “next” step toward that dreaded task and analyze it to determine if it is still too big. Split this step into even smaller, bite-sized steps. Your original “bite-sized” step may be too big. In setting a goal, Michael Hyatt suggests writing down “The next step” toward accomplishing it. Don’t look at the entire project as a whole, but split it into smaller manageable steps. Let’s look at your very next step. If it were really manageable, you would have already done it! Either it is too big, or there are other jobs connected to it that make it more complex. You might need to set goals for these sub-tasks.
But – you’ve already broken down your project into small steps, and you know the next step to take. Is your next step also too huge? Can it be broken down even smaller? Even if it’s ridiculous, try making it smaller. For example, instead of “I will write 3 blogs next Monday”, try this: “I will write one half blog tomorrow” or maybe “I will write the first paragraph of my book” this evening.
Two: Ruthlessly handle distractions
If you are not accomplishing your important assignment, what are you doing instead with that time? One distraction might be checking your email and then getting sidetracked doing that. Another could be Facebook. Perhaps you started cleaning a drawer that became your distraction. How about watching videos – whether it be YouTube, Netflix, cable, or whatever. To ruthlessly handle this issue, you might need to change your scenery. Find a place without your common distractions, such as a coffee shop, library, restaurant, park, outdoor deck for your writing, organizing, etc.
This is probably the most difficult, if not the most rewarding step to take. You will find that once you start, things begin to flow because you have taken action. If you are inundated with the stack of papers yelling for your attention, start with one. If you haven’t written a word on your book, start with a sentence, or begin your outline. Jot down an idea. If you haven’t read the pile of books you bought, pick one and read the introduction today. Beginning is winning half the battle.
There are other strategies to conquer that overwhelming task. What are your ideas?