KNOW YOUR NEXT TWO STEPS
Worrying constantly and not moving forward?
Relentless thinking sends us into overwhelm. More than that; it creates fear.
Thinking + procrastination = FEAR. When we think of everything, we focus on nothing. When we focus on nothing we think of everything. Spending all day worrying is not only non-productive but a thief of our time.
Ever added something to a list just to tick it off? I think we’ve all done it. That little dopamine hit gives us pleasure; the main thing we seek. When we make progress, no matter how small there’s a sense of achievement and it only takes a few of these hits to get us back on track.
The KISS rule: KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID! is what really helps me in times of overwhelm. This routine genuinely works to keep me grounded. I hope it will help you too when it all gets too much.
First, GET YOUR HEAD EXTERNALISED
Rather than focus on the big outcome or fear, write down everything that’s in your head that needs to be done, preferably on a computer but paper is great if that works for you. What we are doing here is basically externalising our thoughts, which means we can work objectively ‘on’ rather than self-sabotaging ‘in’ the mass of thought. Don’t use this list for the everyday stuff; it gets far too complicated. As new thoughts emerge, add them to the list and leave them. (I work with externalising thoughts a lot in coaching, it creates distance and so, lessens emotion).
SPLIT THE LIST
Divide them into two sides, one headed ‘URGENT’ and the other headed ‘NOT URGENT’. This layout comes from Steven Covey and if you google time management there are printable versions. However, this is quite enough for our purposes here (KISS). Be ruthless with which column you choose. You are aiming to work on tasks that are NOT URGENT; long before they become URGENT and stressful. Ultimately, in a more organised, focused and relaxed manner. (Imagine that!).
First – the job to work on. Second- the job to do next
We know which two when we see them in front of us. If your tax return is on there and it’s 28th January, that’s pretty urgent! Knowing the next job prevents our thoughts wandering.
Last, CREATE A METAPHOR
When thoughts of other pressures come into focus, metaphorically, set them back, gently, on to the list or put them in a box or at the side of you but make sure it’s outside of you (not in your head).
Put all lists away, along with any thoughts and give 100% focus on the job in front of you. A great book I recommend on my website is ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller – the idea of multitasking is a myth, do one job well and then the next. Once on the list they won’t be forgotten and in their right time, will be done. The urgency we feel is very often of our own making when we churn the same thoughts around. There is no quicker way out of overwhelm than to accomplish something. If you want to feel good, immerse yourself in the job in front of you with no thoughts but to enjoy the time, right now. I mentioned ‘dopamine’ the pleasure hit, well ‘serotonin’ is the contentment hit and we get it when we finish that job.
- Dump your thoughts – URGENT and NOT URGENT
- Pick two – the one for now and the next one – highlight them
- Focus on the job in front of you – wholeheartedly. Be in the moment to do the best job you can, just that one thing.
So – don’t look long term; just know your next two steps. When we take those 2 steps, we are in a different place. And the way forward? well that might just be in view.
If you need some help to get past where you are now, just give me call on 07884 970502 or send me a quick email.
You will get through this.