break it down

Every now and then, I’ll get completely paralyzed when it comes to making progress on something. Whether it’s a task, project, initiative, or whatever.

What I’ve found is that that paralysis comes from ambiguity. I don’t know enough about the next steps or the path to getting that thing done. And so I procrastinate and put off even getting started.

There are two methods I’ve found for getting past this roadblock:

  1. Start a stream of consciousness document and write out your paralysis
  2. Break the idea down into discrete tasks to be completed

The first method I’ve referred to before as morning pages and comes down to the idea that when I’m paralyzed, I often have a subconscious inner monologue happening that I’m not registering and therefore cannot reason my way through. When I begin writing stream-of-consciousness, I literally write out the problem and solution to that problem.

The second method is often created out of those morning pages. The more individualized I can make the steps of a complex problem or task, the easier it is to move forward with the mechanical method and start making progress by brute force.

In either case, if you’re stuck, it may be that you’re lacking clarity or understanding for how to proceed. And by taking it step by step, you can create a roadmap for completion.


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