You know that feeling you get when you start thinking about all the things you have to do? It’s the same feeling you often get when you compare where you are to where you want to be.
You’ve been busting your ass off and can’t seem to make any progress, you feel like you’re no closer to reaching your goal or living your dream. You start beating yourself up, telling yourself you’re lazy and not good enough, that you should probably just accept your fate and stop even trying.
Well… it doesn’t have to be that way!
First of all, EVERYBODY is “lazy”! At least everybody I enjoy spending time with. I’m not interested in robots who act like they have it all figured out. I LOVE my “lazy” friends who have time to hang out with me. I LOVE being “lazy” and watching a good movie with my family. Not choosing to work 80 hours a week is not being lazy, it’s living a life that’s actually worth living!
Having said that, if you work a 40 hour a week office job and are looking to spend more time on music or other creative projects, I explain how you can work 80 hours a week and have a great time doing it (well… at least for the 40 hours outside of the office if you don’t enjoy that part at all) right over here.
So… getting back to the sense of overwhelm and how to avoid it, here’s my technique: get into the habit of scheduling some time for yourself to review the past week and set goals for the next 7 days.
I’ve prepared a template for you that you can download right here.
The basics are as follows:
1. Review the previous week
Ask yourself what went well and what didn’t, where you wasted time, what you enjoyed doing and didn’t.
2. List your top wins from the previous week
Make sure you acknowledge these are achievements and celebrate! Don’t just move one like it’s nothing special. I’m not sure why so many of us have this tendency of brushing off our accomplishments and celebrating or envying those of others but we need to stop! If you do something write, acknowledge it and take a moment to be happy about it, you deserve it! 🙂
3. Analyze one “failure” from the previous week
Ask yourself why you didn’t get it done.
Sometimes it’s because the task simply isn’t congruent with our larger objectives. If that’s the case, delete! Sometimes it’s because we don’t have the skills to do it. If that’s the case, delegate! Or, if it’s something you really want to be able to do yourself, plan a little bit of time to acquire the skill set.
Most of the time though, we procrastinate because we’re afraid. If you find that’s the case, ask yourself if there’s something else that would achieve a similar goal but wouldn’t stretch your comfort zone so much that you can’t beat the urge to put it off.
I’ll give you a couple of examples of my own:
- I’ve been putting off attending networking events for the past year, a full 12 months! New resolution: reach out to people online on Twitter and Facebook, get to know them one by one, little by little. This is waaaay more my style than mixing and mingling at a networking event (although I wouldn’t know for sure since I’ve never been!)
- I also kept putting off recording videos for an online course I’m preparing. Couldn’t figure out why but figured I was probably afraid so I decided to change tactics. New resolution: prepare slides and record my voice commenting the content. (This brought about an unexpected twist. It was so time-consuming to prepare the slides for the first module that it gave me the push I needed to actually get over myself and record the video for the first module!)
4. Plan for the coming week
- Pick three “work” activities
Make sure they’re well-defined, simple and doable.
Do NOT set yourself up to fail! At first you may find this difficult but little by little you’ll get better and better at defining your goals.
And if you’re freaking out thinking three is not enough, just remember that you get all three tasks done in 3 days, you’ll still have 4 days for bonus activities 😉
It’s much better for your confidence (and confidence may not be everything but it sure makes a BIG difference) to plan your week this way and not schedule 10 goals when you’ll realistically do 4 or 5 at the very best.
- Pick three “personal well-being” activities
This is incredibly important. If you try out some of the tips and tricks on here, it’s likely you’ll soon be engrossed in your creative projects and start wanting to work all the time. That’s fine and you should enjoy the feeling BUT you also need to make sure you don’t burn out 😉
So do make time for YOURSELF, time to enjoy your family, your friends, exercise, learning new things and, of course, make sure you have some alone time to relax.