How to start

Start your engine

Getting stuff done is not always easy. Very often we get burned out and can’t take it any more. Perhaps we want to abandon everything as we’re being pulled from so many directions. After a while things settle down and we can start making progress again.

Since the world hadn’t stopped when your were taking easy there is a considerable amount of stuff you need to deal with. Also you may want to kick off some side projects you always wanted. All of a sudden catching up few things turns into a mountain of stuff.

This can easily put you off from starting getting back into the flow. Fortunately kicking things off is easy and  it takes only three steps. 

Gather commitments

Take a piece of paper and list all the things that come to your head. Don’t judge those things you will review them later. For now just write them down and see what’s coming up.
Avoid using electronic tools if possible. Computers will distract you and you will lose focus necessary to empty your head. If you really have to use your computer use something very basic like plain text file and Notepad.

Clarify actions and outcomes

Now review your list and decide whether you want to do anything about them. Then clarify which items are projects and which are just simple actions.

Clarify the outcomes of your projects, define what do you want to do. Make them as specific as possible.
For example Fix a car is too vague to give you an idea what it’s about. But if you put it like that: "replace front suspension". Now it becomes clearer and more specific. It’s much easier to list any actions that my form part of such project. At the same time the success or the completion status is also clearly defined. In the first example you never know when you’re done perhaps there are many small things that my need fixing. Second example is very precise so the boundaries are set.

List the priorities

Once you’ve clarified actions and outcomes for projects it’s time to put them in some order and decide what needs your attention first.
No all things are equal and some will have greater urgency and importance.
There are no set criteria for defining priority simply use your own judgement and see what resonates with you.
Once you’re done setting the priorities begin to work on your first item.

Getting clear and current is a straight forwards process. For many the problem lies in the fact that we need to spend some time upfront setting up the environment, clarifying what to do and when to do it.
This may be difficult considering that you may not see it as necessary or even think of it as waste of time. I often thought that I should be working harder, knocking those actions rather than spending time reviewing and clarifying. Unfortunately opposite is true the more time we spend upfront on planning and clarifying the easier it is to make progress on what we want.

Photo by pobre.ch

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