Overcoming Inaction

Again, the vein of time management, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is spending time on things that don’t bring you closer to your goals. It’s easy to get caught into routines that do not reward us in the long term, and the best way to be aware of your own daily setbacks is to evaluate and re-evaluate how you are spending your time.

When you come to the realization that anything is possible, you are then burdened with decision making. Making choices are terrifying, because once we make a choice (and truly make that choice), we open up the possibility of failure, and also the possibility of letting ourselves down. Let’s look at some concrete examples.

Let’s say that K wants to write a book, take a pottery class, and to get better at cooking. K’s list is much longer than these three items, and when they look at the list, they’re overwhelmed with the burden of choosing just one thing to focus on that day. K wakes up on Sunday, has the whole day to pursue one of their many interests. Should I write today? Should I look up pottery classes? Or should I find a recipe and go grocery shopping? Suddenly, K remembers even more things that they want to try, and now they are overwhelmed with possibility, stressed, and incapable of doing anything. The day is spent scrolling through Facebook and Instagram.

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In these scenarios, there are several approaches that I take. The first one is don’t think, choose. This isn’t a universal rule (of course). But in these situations when you find yourself incapable of making a decision, you should make one anyway without overthinking it. The overthinking is counterproductive and prevents you from achieving your goals. Acting without thinking is terrifying (as it should be), but can be useful when you are looking at too many options in front of you, all of which have more or less the same benefit.

Now you have confronted the initial hump of getting around inaction. Now, if you keep doing this, you will find you can navigate around procrastination. Great. What’s next? If you keep working on something rather than nothing, and once you are continuously working, you are then faced again with a problem. Now that I can do anything, what should I be doing?

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This is different from earlier, when you were previously moving from 0 to 100. Now you have to allocate your energies towards the ones that benefit you. Lists come into play here, and designated time to assess your goals for the day, the week, and the month. Assess you goals and prioritize. If you do this once a week, when you are sitting and thinking “What should I do today?” you have already thought about what needs to be accomplished. You goals are clear and it makes it easier to jump into one of your actionable choices for the day.

By setting aside one hour-long block a week where you sit an list out your goals in this manner, it clarifies all of your impulse actions for the future. You are balancing fast and slow thinking for optimum performance, and freeing up the burden of having to think about all of these things at once when you are deciding what to do.

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