When you find yourself overwhelmed by the prospect of a huge project, the wrong thing to do is to procrastinate. To put things off. In my case, that always leads to stress and a mental block.
We all know there are times when stress is good. It powers you up through a short time crisis. You move faster, think more clearly, have more energy than usual and can better tackle that surprise challenge.
Many times though, stress is the result of an immature response to various things life throws our way. That’s the bad kind of stress. The one that takes a lot out of you, and yet you have nothing good to show for it.
So, if you find yourself overwhelmed by a project, instead of avoiding it (like I did for a few days), start working on small tasks related to it. You’ll be surprised how fast you become engaged in the work. You think up new solutions. You clarify your vision. You build momentum.
In metaphorical terms, the procrastination approach puts me into a deep, dark hole. That’s a very bad place to be in, especially since I’m slightly claustrophobic. As soon as I tackle my project instead (even with very small tasks), I feel like I’m on a hiking trail, on my way up to a new mountain top. I know I’ll fall a few times, get bruised, and feel sore along the way, but that’s a small price to pay considering how much I love hiking. And how amazing mountain top views are!
Before I started writing this short blog post, I was playing around with a few ideas for one-liners about how important it is to understand that the “I’m-waiting-for-inspiration” attitude is mostly a sign of being lazy. (It can also mean that you’re looking at a project you’re not truly passionate about. If that’s the case, you need to choose a different mountain top…) I came up with these witty bits that are simple variations of sayings people much wiser than me uttered in the past. Here they are.
- Inspiration doesn’t come to those who wait, it comes to those who do.
- The inspiration, the solution, and the tools are in the work.
I don’t know if they help you or not, but maybe they’ll make you think a little bit more about your own “avoidance tendencies” and figure out a way to deal with them.
Before I end this post, I’ll give you a very short, yet very wise and powerful quote.
“Must not all things at last be swallowed up by Death?”
Wait, that’s not it! LOL Here’s the inspirational one:
“The beginning is the most important part of any work.”
I think Rumi’s famous “The cure is in the pain” applies here also. Whatever you like most. As long as you stop procrastinating and start doing instead. Have fun!