If you’re anything like me, this scenario may sound familiar. Every year we make promises to ourselves. We vow to write more, finish that project, get organized, something. And every year, we spin our wheels and make very little progress.
Often when I get a few hours to write, I don’t even know where to start. Then it’s deadline time, and I shift into stress mode. That’s when I usually discover that the thing I’ve been procrastination about for so long actually goes fairly quickly, after I finally figure out where to start.
This year, I’ve decided to try something different. I’m going to make a solid plan and follow it. Here’s the step by step guide.
- First, create a planning notebook. I know, technology is great. But I do better with a visual. I’m using a 3-ring binder, with divider tabs so I can easily rearrange as necessary.
- Create a separate section for each project you’re working on or plan to work on. Within that section, describe the project, jot notes of any plans or ideas of where you want to go, etc. Add notes to these sections any time you think of something pertaining to a specific project.
- For each project, list the Next First Step — the next physical action needed to move that project farther along. List any other steps you can identify, but highlight or circle the actual first step.
- Create a TO DO list on the front page of the notebook, listing all of your first steps. This way, you have a clear grasp of exactly what you need to do for each of your current projects.
- Every time you carve out a few minutes, refer to this TO DO list and work on one of the steps.
- When you complete a step, mark it off and update your project section. Figure out the next first step for that project and add it to the TO DO list. Or better yet, keep rolling and knock out the whole project.
I think it’s worth a try. Join me, and let’s see what happens.