Are you overwhelmed at the prospect of finishing a seemingly monumental task? Do you become easily discouraged or distracted at the mere thought of it? Here is a sublime self-management remedy for quickly moving out of overwhelm and into productivity.
You are never going to find your dream job by only doing things that make you feel good.
But there is a way to use this “feel good” principle for effective self-management and goal accomplishment.
Finishing a task gives us a sense of self-worth. This is why we sometimes get easily distracted by small tasks when we set out to take on a bigger job.
Some things that would fit into the category of unnecessary distractions are:
- Doing a load of laundry
- Feeding the family pet
- Cleaning the toilet
- Organizing something
- Anything that can be finished in a fairly short time
Say your ultimate goal is to write a book.
You may sit down with the intention to write a chapter, and then decide to fold a load of laundry, or organize your desktop instead. That’s because folding a load of laundry and organizing your desktop are things you can finish quickly. This gives you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, while writing an entire chapter in a book may seem daunting or overwhelming.
The problem with this is that we can spend an entire day doing all these little things that make us feel good just to avoid the prospect of tackling the huge task that is our ultimate goal.
This is the perfect opportunity to practice an effective self-management principle called micro-steps.
In the case of writing a book, a micro-step would be to simply write a paragraph (not even a chapter).
Taking micro-steps allows you to break bigger tasks down into bite-sized pieces.
Writing a paragraph gives you a sense of accomplishment, just the same as doing a load of laundry or organizing your desktop.
The difference is that you are working in the direction of your ultimate goal, while still getting a squirt of feel good chemicals, like dopamine, in your brain. You still get a feeling of self-worth, AND you are actually doing what you really want to do.
The purpose of taking micro-steps is to build momentum.
After you write that paragraph, you are likely in the zone, and more poised to write a second paragraph, and so it goes.
So try this!
The next time you have a daunting or overwhelming task to undertake, start with really small doses. Do one micro-step per hour, or even one micro-step per day, if that seems more manageable.
The goal is to gradually, bit by bit, chip away at the task, without having to feel overwhelmed.
If you are someone who seems to get stuck doing things that are not in line with your personal goals and dreams, self-management is something I can help you with. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me so I can point you in the direction of personal power and productivity.