We all know what it’s like to hit a wall. To feel stuck at work, or experience creative blocks. Paralysis by analysis is real. It takes effort and energy to think about things, and as humans, we’re really good at it.
So good in fact, we overdo it.
We think about things from every possible different angle, pick it apart, hypothesize outcomes – and for what?
We spend massive amounts of mental energy and time thinking our way through situations that probably won’t even happen.
The way to solve any complicated problem is to break it down into parts. Maybe the big solution isn’t there yet, but the process of breaking the big problem down into a series of smaller, more manageable problems, is where the big solution hides.
You gain useful information with each consecutive actionable step that you take. So by definition, it’s impossible to think your way through it from the start. So why bother?
Identify Step 1, Repeat
What is a single step you can take today? How can you move the needle in the right direction?
Do that. Reassess, and do it again. Make your journey an ongoing process of identifying step one.
Prioritize action. Make a habit of taking single actionable steps. Don’t worry about steps 3, 4, and 5 – take step one, and then do it again.
There will still be plenty of thinking to do, but prioritizing action will force you to think about what’s important now. Not what might happen 6 months from now.
As the old Zen saying goes, “Chop wood, carry water.” Do what’s important and necessary now, and the future will take care of itself.
Our Own Worst Enemy
We tend to get in our own way. Often we’ll know what’s needed, and then stand in our own way when it’s time to get it done. We literally think our way out of it. Imposter syndrome creeps in, our old friend self doubt joins the party. We convince ourselves that whatever we’re doing is useless and will never work out.
Shut those thoughts down, and focus on putting one foot in front of the other.
When we think about everything that needs to get done, it can feel like there isn’t enough time in the day. We worry so much about all the work and build it up to be more than it is.
Things are always scarier and more daunting before we get started. Just like problem solving, and goal setting, breaking things down and compartmentalizing is a useful tactic.
Consider creating an actionable list each night for the following day.
Decide what time you want to wake up, and the things you want to accomplish, and put them on the list. There’s something about writing it down that makes it more tangible. This practice also cuts out the time you would spend the following day deciding what to do. This takes up more time than we realize.
Stick to the list, when you work efficiently, there’s time for everything.
Without inspiration, it’s difficult to take action. Inspiration is at the core of creativity, and if we’re not living in a way that brings inspiration, our creative output may suffer.
What are the activities that make you feel most inspired? Can you set up your schedule in a way that allows for that practice frequently?
If we’re not inspired, we’re not at our best. If you’re struggling to identify what step one might be for you, it’s possible you’re lacking some inspiration in your life.
Take a day to focus on yourself. Do something you want to do. A change of scenery, time in nature, conversation and laughter with friends – these are all things that can inspire and rejuvenate your soul.
The more alive and inspired we feel, the better our lives become.