There’s a certain moment we all face that is about ⅙ of the way through a pile or project. I call it “The Moment of Decision,” and it can be incredibly frustrating and painful–even to the point that you turn back and totally give up on the project. But when we learn what to DO when we get there, it’s amazing to see what happens! So glad you’re here with us today!
As a quick announcement, we have our next session of Four Weeks to Finished starting September 1st–AND some brand new resources inside our STEP Mastery program I’m excited to tell you about, so please check the links at the bottom of this page and/or listen to the end to learn more!
And throughout the month of August, we’ll be publishing a whole series of short, helpful podcasts that you can listen to while you do a microburst of work. So please make sure you subscribe to LearnDoBecome Radio, and then when you need to clean up the kitchen or dive into a closet or something for 10-15 minutes, LearnDoBecome can be your companion!
All right, so what is this “moment of decision” we’re talking about today?
Let’s say you decide you want to clear out the top drawer of your filing cabinet. You put this on your Current Projects List for the month, you bought some extra file folders, you have a vision of what you’re going to create, and you dive in for a 10-minute microburst to get to work.
The initial enthusiasm for the job will get you off to a good start–especially when you couple that with the great feelings you’re having as you think, “Look at me go! I’m doing this hard project I’ve been procrastinating for MONTHS! I can do hard things. I am a champion!”
But then usually about ⅙ of the way in (just an approximate–I just know it’s usually near the beginning–and nowhere close to the middle), you remember why you’ve been putting that project off.
With this filing cabinet example, perhaps you come across a bunch of files that elicit emotions of shame or dread. Maybe you find something that is way overdue and needed your attention a long, long time ago. Maybe you find something that reminds you that you never moved forward on things that were important to you. Maybe you discover that you’ve been shoving a bunch of papers into the wrong places, and you have more to clean up than you previously thought. Maybe you come across something that belongs to someone else, and all of a sudden you feel resentment for that person and everything that happened between the two of you.
This kind of thing happened when I started cleaning our garage years ago. I knew it was “messy,” but when I started pulling things out, I saw all the garbage, some dead mice, things I forgot to return to the store, piles I’d made in spite of Eric’s suggestions to set things up differently, a bunch of things I’d intended to fix (but never did)…it went on and on to the point I wanted to just forget the whole thing and go take a nap.
The details change project by project, but whether we’re cleaning out a closet, going through email, diving into a tech issue, clearing a pantry, organizing an event, growing a business, teaching a class, or doing anything else that requires multiple steps and an active brain, the vast majority of projects will involve a “moment of decision.”
So what do we DO when we realize what we’ve done?
How do we respond when we see we’ve just opened a version of Pandora’s box, and we don’t think we have the strength to deal with it? Here are a few suggestions (and then please add your own in the Comments area!):
(1) Remember you’re normal. People don’t talk about their feelings around this type of thing very often. In fact, these are some of the most hidden emotions because they feel unique to us, full of shame, and incredibly painful. But I promise this is more normal than you think. For example, most people in the world struggle with procrastination. (Think how rare it is when someone does what they said they were going to do…on time…without offering some kind of excuse.) This “moment of decision” is what most procrastinators dread. They know deep down that there is pain being covered up by their delay. “So how about I just not apply for that job–because that means I have to face my fears about my resume and past employment.” Or, “Let’s not actually plan that vacation–because then I need to look at my finances.” And maybe, “Let’s not deal with that cabinet under the kitchen–because then I need to relive all those times I just shoved something random under there.” Part of the power of LearnDoBecome is being part of a community who “gets” you. There’s nothing wrong with you. You just don’t want to feel that shame and dread…and that makes sense.
(2) Identify the distortions in your self-talk. Dr. David Burns, author of Feeling Good, When Panic Attacks, and his latest book, Feeling Great talks all about the most common distortions that cause depression and anxiety. It’s things like all-or-nothing thinking (“I have failed at life because I am not organized”), mind-reading (“People probably think I’m incompetent because my house is messy”), and labeling or self-blame (“I’m such a loser, and it’s my fault that all of this has turned out so poorly”). Until I learned how to dissect my thoughts and figure out how I was distorting the truth, I thought I was stuck feeling anxious and afraid. (You can change, too, if you’d like! Dr. Burns’ books are a great start!)
(We also linked a wonderful resource for reducing anxiety and stress from neuroscience expert, Dr. Wood at the end of this post.)
(3) Get all the projects, tasks, routines, goals, and reminders into your Command Central. If you don’t have one yet, stay close here at LearnDoBecome and immerse yourself in either our free or paid resources because we’ll show you how to do it! But this is one of the reasons I am so passionate about everyone having a STEP Command Central on their desk–or at least somewhere in their home. You can work with your thoughts and feelings all day long, but if you are digging through a drawer and realize you need to buy new socks, you have a bill in there that’s overdue, and then you get a sudden burst of inspiration that it’s really time that you start a regular exercise program, you need somewhere to PUT those ideas. (And adding them to your long, crazy, never-ending to-do list isn’t the solution.) You need to have a clear understanding of the two-minute rule (where if something takes less than two minutes, you DO it…you don’t write it down. You need a Next Actions list to write down that task to buy socks next time you get a moment while you’re running errands or ordering things online. You need a calendar-specific list so you can pay each bill on the right day (or using an awesome routine that runs on auto-pilot), and you need somewhere to record and track the routines and projects that are most important to you so that exercise isn’t always a “someday” item. We have worked with countless individuals who thought they were just “broken,” and it turns out all they needed was a Command Central to help them keep track of all the stuff they needed to do. This doesn’t have to be as hard as we sometimes make it, and we certainly don’t need to waste one more moment of our lives in self-loathing. I hope you’ll agree with me on that!
I know that these moments of decision aren’t easy. I know how sometimes life feels so heavy that you can’t handle even one more thing. I know that there’s pressure and challenges and tricky things to navigate, and you’re probably the person that many others depend upon. As a LearndoBecome invitation, when you feel like you can’t hold even one more thing together, I invite you to review the ideas shared above, give yourself some grace and a chance to breathe, and hold tight to this community because we sincerely want the best for you!
Team LearnDoBecome would LOVE to support you as you get organized and build your STEP Command Central!
Ready to become a STEPper and build your full Command Central? Our STEP Mastery members have a special bonus class this month–all about time blocking. If you join by August 23rd, you can participate in the live event! Or join by the end of August to get the recording. Recordings of special events can be purchased for $50 on their own, or you can become a STEP Mastery member and become grandfathered in to all future STEP Mastery Member events!
Four Weeks to Finished starts September 1st! Would you like to get out of the overwhelm with a solid Command Central–built in one month with lots of coaching, support, and community along the way? Our special group coaching program is only offered a few times a year, and we would love for you to sign up! Click here to get on the waitlist!
Want to reduce anxiety and stress? TIPP (The Inspired Performance Program) is based on the idea that our minds have developed some glitches and error messages in the ways they store information about events from our past. And we all have these glitches!
Dr. Wood’s program has helped me (April) in more ways than I can even tell you. It is an investment. As I worked through the program, I had both immediate and long-term results, and I have been more able to focus on the most important tasks and just enjoy time with my family.
If you are ready to retrain your brain so that anxiety no longer holds you back, just click here to learn more!