Ah, procrastination—the silent killer of dreams.
You’re probably familiar with the feeling you get when you know there is something you ought to be doing, but you just can’t seem to get to it. When you’re feeling stuck, motivating yourself to get going is just the hardest thing to do. Maybe you’ve experienced this yourself: the sneaky voice that suggests you contemplate giving up on what you really want…
“Downsize your dreams.”
“Don’t reach so high… you’ll only be disappointed”, it says.
It’s not your fault you have these feelings of doubt now and again—not at all—and the really good news is there is something you can do to get unstuck right now. This method doesn’t involved trying to motivate yourself artificially, but it does involve getting back into your natural flow.
Let me explain:
What is Your Natural Flow?
Have you ever had those times when things just seem easy? When everything falls into place, and you bounce from one task to the next effortlessly; time flies by, and your productivity goes through the roof whilst everything is harmonious and fun. You know what I mean, don’t you? These are the times when you are working to your natural flow.
Now by contrast, when you’re not in your natural flow is when you feel STUCK. Everything seems to take forever, and each task gets more and more tedious, almost like your energy is being zapped out of you. I bet you’ve also had times like this too… am I right?
Well, don’t despair, because there is a way out of it, and it’s easier than goal setting. It doesn’t involve discovering your life purpose, and it doesn’t mean you have to rely on pure willpower and determination. In fact, the solution lies in two simple lists. More on this shortly.
The Root Cause of Your Pain
The pain and frustration you experience lies in doing things that keep you out of your flow. You see, we’re all wired in our own ways, and while some of us light up in front of an audience, others may feel that giving a speech is the biggest stress they could ever imagine. While some people love picking up the phone or networking, others thrive on the detail of a spreadsheet or a process map.
The point is, there are some things we each love to do, that are within our natural flow, and there are things that make us feel stuck. The key to getting back into flow and overcoming the stuck-ness is simply a case of spending a greater proportion of your day on tasks that are within your flow. The degree to which you can do this, is the degree to which you will THRIVE.
The first thing we need to do is define when you are in flow, and when you are stuck.
A Tale of Two Lists
These two lists are things that anyone who masters anything is on some level aware of as they go about their day. Here is the quick-fire way that you can adopt the same approach and make it work for you—starting right now.
Step 1: Grab a pen and paper and divide it into two columns. At the top of the first column write the title “Things That I’m Doing When I’m Stuck”. At the top of the second column, write “Things That I’m Doing When I’m in Flow”.
Step 2: Think of all the times you’ve been stuck, and write down the tasks you were doing in the first column.
Step 3: Now think of all the things that you put off, or dread doing. They should also go in the “stuck” column.
Step 4: Now do the same for all the times you’ve been in flow, and pop those into the second column.
Step 5: You guessed it; now you need to think of all the tasks you look forward to doing and put those in the second column too.
Now what you’ve effectively done is create a Flow List and a Stuck List, and these can then form the basis of all your decisions around where you choose to put your focus. Essentially, what you want to do is to spend the maximum amount of time on things in your flow list, and a minimum time on things your stuck list.
If you can do this—either by picking your projects carefully, outsourcing or reallocating tasks within your team—you will very quickly find that being stuck is a thing of the distant past!
You’re in the Driving Seat
Okay, now it’s over to you.
Knowing about this won’t change the way you do things, but sitting down and making these two lists is the beginning. Once you’ve defined on paper the things that make you stuck and the things that keep you in flow, then you’re able to make productive decisions about what you do and don’t do. It all starts with getting those lists well defined first: you have to do something, and the easy and most productive thing you can do right now isn’t to try and get more stuff done.
Instead, it’s to define where you are in flow and where you are stuck, so let’s get those lists done now before you even click away. Go ahead—grab a pen and paper and create your two lists now. You can download an example stuck and flow list here if you need some help. You’ll be amazed at how quickly things start to shift for you.
Leave a comment and share some examples, or simply let us know how you got on with this very quick life hack! I read every comment, and I’m here to help.
To Your Inevitable Success!
Laura Leigh Clarke