Something very interesting happened when I told myself 2016 was the year that I’d get things done.
Nothing happened at all.
I admit–it wasn’t exactly how I’d planned starting the New Year. But I was so bent on executing and afraid of over-planning that I stopped planning altogether and ended up not doing much of anything at all. On top of that, I’d been experiencing some general feelings of unhappiness and being stuck that were keeping me from wanting to do anything in the first place.
Fortunately, thanks to lots of prayer, I started writing again last week. The process has been slow-going, but I’m feeling inspired again and the desire to actually do things is coming back. When you’ve been lacking creativity for a while, one of the hardest things is getting started. If you’re not used to executing in general, getting started is scary. It’s overwhelming. It feels like such a huge lift, and I totally get it.
The same is true when you’re starting a new business and you feel like you have a million and one things to do, yet you have no idea which one is most important, or which one should get done first. Again, totally get it! This stuff isn’t always easy at first. After all, the title of this post isn’t “An Easy Way to Get Started and Get Things Done.” But I am hoping that the method I’m currently using helps you get things started (and finished!) the way it’s been helping me, and that eventually, getting things done does come easy.
A Minimalist Approach to Getting Started and Getting Things Done
The key to this approach is not to get ahead of ourselves and put several things on our to-do lists. Because if you’re already feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of getting things done, then the last thing you want to do is make yourself crazy with a to-do list that includes anything and everything you can think of.
Instead, this approach involves asking yourself three questions about what what you want to get accomplished and why you want to get it done. By asking yourself these questions, you’re being intentional about what it is you want to get done, which makes you more likely to get started and more likely to execute the task at hand.
Also, you want to write this to-do list the night before. This way you go to sleep knowing exactly why you’re waking up the next morning. For those of us starting a business and working full-time jobs, getting up in the morning isn’t always easy. Writing your to-do list before bed will help you focus on the bigger picture and give you some extra motivation to get your day going.
Here are the three questions you’re going to ask yourself before you go to bed tonight (write the answers down):
- What did I accomplish today?
- What do I want to accomplish tomorrow?
- What is my ultimate goal?
First, you’re going to remind yourself of something that you got done today. That will make starting a new task seem a lot less daunting. If you haven’t accomplished anything today, write that down too. Write down why you didn’t get anything done and how you feel about it.
Next, you’re going to write one thing that you want to accomplish tomorrow. One. Thing. Why is this one thing important to you? How do you think accomplishing that one thing will make you feel? Write all of that down. Having this conversation with yourself is a really important part of motivating yourself to get this one thing done.
Last, write down your ultimate goal and how accomplishing this one thing will get you that much closer to achieving that ultimate goal. Answering this question reminds you of why you’re doing all of this in the first place. It’s so important that we remind ourselves of our “why” as often as possible so we don’t lose sight of our purpose.
This is a pared down, super minimalist approach at writing a to-do list, but it’s also a very intentional exercise that has the potential to help you actually get started and also get things done. Because of this method, I’ve gone from a blogging rut of about four weeks to writing two posts in one day. I’ve finally tackled my inbox after weeks of anxiety about checking new email. I’m slowly getting back to feeling creative and inspired, and I feel accomplished because I’m only tackling one thing at a time.
This approach isn’t for everyone, but if you’re an overwhelmed entrepreneur that isn’t getting things done, this may be just the thing to help you start (and finish!) your next project.
What do you think? Will you give this a try?
Let me know in the comments!
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