Let’s face it: some tasks are so overwhelming they sit on our to-do lists for months before we finally complete them. Why is that? Find out some reasons we avoid tasks and 6 steps we can take to finally cross them off our lists. Let’s tackle those tough projects, moms!
Have you ever had a task that needed to get done, but the thought of it was so overwhelming that you kept putting it off for months?
Yeah, me too. Far more often than I’d like to admit. Big projects can be tough to tackle–especially when you feel like you barely have enough energy to get through the basic day-to-day tasks of #momlife.
Here’s a step-by-step process to take projects from too-overwhelming-to-think-about to wow-is-it-done-already?
1. What’s Holding You Back?
Sit down and think for a couple minutes about why you’re not tackling the project. Yes, you’re tired. Yes, the project seems daunting. Yes, you’d rather binge-watch Netflix. But there’s probably something else going on too.
I’m going to give you a big hint right now: it’s probably because you haven’t broken it down enough. The majority of the time, when you can’t seem to cross an item off your to-do list, it’s because the task is too big and needs to be broken down further.
For instance, if you put “organize the office” on your list, it’ll probably sit there for months. That’s a huge task! Where do you even start? But if you put down, “clear out last year’s files”, you’ll probably do it. And once that’s done, you can add “get rid of paper clutter on desk” to the list. And so on and so forth.
Maybe there’s something else that’s holding you back, but whatever it is, think about it for a second and figure out how to move past it.
2. Break Down the Project.
Take the project and break it down into mini-tasks, step-by-step. What’s the very first thing you need to do to complete the task? Think through EVERYTHING. If you need to research something before you can start, put that down first. Each step should take no more than about 30 minutes. If a step will take longer, see if you can break it down further. I aim for each step to take approximately 15 minutes, but some are more or less, depending on the task.
3. Schedule Time Each Day or Week to Tackle the Project.
Now that you have the project broken down into small, manageable steps, schedule in some time to work on it. Remember, it’s already broken down into short blips of time for you–now you just have to decide when to do it. Maybe it’s during nap time. Or after the kids go to bed. Or maybe you’ll work twice a day and do both.
The more you do per day, the faster the project will get done, but make sure it’s manageable! Don’t spread yourself too thin. If you’ve got a lot of other things going on right now, you might need to accept that this project will take you a long time to complete. It’ll be okay. After all, it’s been sitting on your to-do list untouched for months. A few more weeks won’t hurt you. And this time you’ll at least be making forward progress on it everyday!
4. Know Your Why.
Why are you completing this project? How will you feel when it’s done? How will your life improve because you finished it? Having a clear WHY behind your project will help you when times get tough. When you’re having a rough day and want to skip it–or you’ve hit the worst step of the whole project–think about why you’re doing it in the first place and that should help keep you going.
If you don’t have a good why, it’s just something that HAS to get done because of outside sources, maybe a reward is good incentive for you. Tell yourself that when it’s done you get to watch a chick flick, get a pedicure, or buy yourself that necklace you’ve been eyeing.
5. Anticipate Obstacles.
Okay, so you know your why or your reward, and that’s good. But there are still going to be some days where that won’t be enough. What are some possible scenarios that could pop-up and derail you, and how will you overcome them? What if you’ve got a puking kid? What if you were up all night with insomnia? What if you had a tough workout and feel like you can’t move? What if you have a bad headache?
Think through some ways to combat these ahead of time or some ways to make it fun and exciting. Is there a podcast you love that you could ONLY listen to while you complete your project? Maybe you stopped soda, but you’ll allow yourself one to get through the project on days you have a headache. If you were up all night, power through the 15 minutes, then let yourself take a nap. If you’re got a puking kid, I’m just sorry. So sorry.
Think through possible obstacles, then come up with a plan NOW to power through.
6. Make it Happen.
Now all that’s left is to DO IT. You have a plan. You’ve scheduled time in. You know your why. You’ve fought against obstacles. Now make it happen! You’ve got this!
How do you tackle overwhelming projects?
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