Mental fog and very next actions

Here’s how to conclude a project you have procrastinated on.

Step 1: Revisit the desired outcome of the project.

Step 2: Reset the individual tasks.

Step 3: Drill down. Identify the very next actions that make up the tasks. A very next action is a specific, tangible, and simple thing you can do. “Call Steve.” “Create the spreadsheet template.” “Buy the Father’s Day card…”

Procrastination on any project is a Step 3 problem. Why? We all have at least one languishing project. The reason it isn’t done has nothing to do with how busy you are. It’s held up because there is some mental fog involving the very next actions that is acting as a roadblock.

Fog. You have a project and you have a desired outcome. In between, for almost every project not done, is the fog. Fog= unclear very next actions.

What if we used the fog differently? What if we used it as a signal to investigate the project further instead of an excuse to let it languish? Who knows. Once you wade into the tasks you may find the project isn’t worth completing. Or you may find that what has stymied you up until now was not that big of a deal. In either case, the fog becomes a sign post instead of a stop sign.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on June 16, 2020

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