The Next Step

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Procrastination is often a response to feeling overwhelmed. We think about finishing what we need to accomplish and all the work it will take to get from start to finish.

If I’m facing a huge task, I want to take a breath and prepare myself before I dive in. In the meantime, while I’m preparing myself, I’ve got something else to do that’s quicker and more interesting. A few weeks later, I’m facing the same huge task with the same feelings and some added guilt and reinforcement of how horrible the task must be since it’s making me feel so crappy. So I take a deep breath and remember something else I want to do….(repeat)

Or, instead of thinking about finishing the task, I think about starting it or doing the next step. The next step is a smaller, measurable commitment I can make more easily knowing that I can make a choice to move on to something else when I’m finished with the next step. It keeps the project moving forward and keeps me in the moment.

When procrastination has a grip on me and I’m tempted to avoid a large project, I have found that asking myself, “What is the next step?” is much more productive than trying to plan out the whole job. It allows me to focus on the moment and to work inspired.

The idea of living in the moment is not just for meditation and weekend leisure activities. It benefits every area of our lives, including work.