by Susan McCarthy
Identify the tiniest, most ridiculously small and easy step that you can take toward a project or goal - and do it now.
I read a lot about habits and habit-building hoping that eventually, something will stick. See, I have a horrible time building and maintaining habits. However, one of the skills/strengths that shows up time and again when I take different types of personality tests, is a love of learning … so, I read a lot.
And, what I keep reading in books is that, whatever your goal, to get started working toward it, you should do something, anything, … right now.
Not to be coy, but it doesn’t really matter what action you take toward getting organized. Doing something, right now, is better and more productive than waiting for the right time to start.
I know, I know, you need to clear your schedule, hire a babysitter, ask for your partner’s support, look up information on that online program about cleaning your closet, buy a book about organizing your home, and on and on.
Let’s worry about all that later.
Take a Step Toward Your Goal Right Now
Right now, do one thing, it might seem like an insignificant thing when facing the full scope of a project, but do one thing, anything.
If your kitchen counter is a disaster, you might decide to remove the mail piled on the counter. What do you want to organize? Go do that right now. No, you don’t have to do anything else. Do that one thing.
If you want to clean your closet, open the door right now and remove three items that you could only wear around your house … and if someone rang the doorbell, you’d pretend you weren’t home rather than let another living soul see what you are wearing.
Break through Your Procrastination
By doing something, anything, right now, you break through the barrier of thinking you need to do x, y, and z before you can start. By doing something right now, guess what, you’ve started.
Instead of thinking that the planets or every element of your schedule has to align in a favorable format, you start. Later today or tomorrow, do something else.
What if you do the wrong thing? Which would be worse – to spend five or ten minutes doing some minor task or not doing anything at all? Besides, if your goal is to clean your kitchen, dealing with the stack of mail on the counter isn’t going to do any harm. Instead, it gets you started.
Defining Your First Step
How do you know what to do? Think of something, again, anything, related to the project and go do it. If you can’t motivate yourself to do that thing, you may be thinking too big. You cannot, right now, clean your entire closet. However, right now, you can toss five stretched-out tees.
Still can’t stand up and do that one thing right now? For where you are at this moment in your life, that step is probably too large. So, instead, you toss two mangy tee shirts because you can handle that. If you can take the action right now, then you know you’ve selected the right action.
If you keep doing this, doing one thing that you can get done right now, you will work your way toward your goal. Maybe you wake up some rainy weekend morning and realize that scheduled events are off and that right now you can work through your dish and glassware cabinet.
I’m not saying that you should never schedule a task. However, if there is a project that is looming over you, instead of thinking about it, and thinking what you must do before you can do anything, the best thing you could do is to do something, anything, right now.
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Other helpful articles:
The Organized Squirrel, Susan, shows you how acorns (small habits) can grow into oak trees (a better life).