Last week I talked to you about what I’ve found to be the first step I need to take to get unstuck: Get Clear. I have to have a plan, a roadmap, a direction in which I want to go — or I don’t go! I know very well that plans can change. But like a budget, which really is a plan for managing your money, a plan for managing your business or your life has to start somewhere.
So now that I have the Big Picture Plan, where do I start?
Now I have a direction. There is still so very much to do to get there! And when I think about everything at once, I get overwhelmed again. It feels like everything has to happen simultaneously in order to work. Talk about multitasking! It’s like multitasking on the scale of the universe.
Here’s a secret: multitasking is a myth. Even computers don’t multitask. They just work so fast, and switch between tasks so fast, that it LOOKS like they’re doing several things at once.
When a project or even a task feels too big to me, I freeze. I need to break it down into little bite-sized bits for it to be manageable.
If you’ve got a big, overwhelming project, try thinking of it like a movie reel. More specifically, think of it like a cartoon. To the audience when they watch, the action flows smoothly. The characters on the screen move about, they speak, things happen. But ask a cartoonist: every frame is a slightly different picture. Did you ever have or make one of those flip books when you were a kid? You know, you draw a sequence of pictures, one per page, and when you flip through the pages quickly your eyes perceive the illusion of motion.
The big project is the whole movie. But the film breaks down into a series of separate images. How can you break your project into smaller and smaller bits, so that each bit is something you can take on and get done?
Your eyes perceive the illusion of motion in that flip book. But the PAGES are actually moving! When you’ve flipped through the book, you’ve finished the book. When all of the frames of the movie or the cartoon have gone past your eyes, you’ve watched the whole thing.
Zero in on each task, Narrow the focus of that lens so you see each step, string the steps together into a project, collect the projects together into your life.
So step 2 = Get Focused.