I’m Erika Salloux, and I’m going to tell you one of the best secrets to getting more done when you’ve been procrastinating on something and actually starting.
Focus on Your Next Actions
I pilfered a little bit of this from David Allen’s work, because he talks about next actions. A lot of times when you look at a big project that is really overwhelming, we look at the whole big picture and maybe the end goal instead of thinking about just a little bitty next task that we have to do. So a lot of times when I work with clients I say okay so what’s the next task in this project? Potentially like they want to hire an assistant for instance.
But that’s not really the next task, that’s the overarching project. The next task might be to make a list of all the things they want the assistant to do, so things they want to take off their plate. And that’s a smaller task, it’s a very bite-sized task, and they can sit down and say I’m going to do that. It’s called a next action sheet that I use with my clients. At the top you write down the name of the project, so it could be hiring an assistant, then the end result that’s going to take it off your plate.
Organize Your Next Task
So I have a stellar assistant what I love working with who is really good at all the tasks that I want to have that person do, whatever that is. And then you start to write down the small itty bitty task, and you can do this on your computer too if you like to have everything electronic, as I do nowadays – less paper the better. And you can also rearrange them, so if something changes you can cut-and-paste and literally just decide when you’re going to do the next task. Put that into your schedule, put an alarm on that, that you’re going to actually be doing that next task instead of looking at the whole big picture.
That way, it’s a really small bite-sized chunk, and your brain is going to process it better. Also the other thing is when you write down the task, don’t write down little phrases, start with an action verb and with a period. Because our brains will read that and go oh that’s what I have to do. So instead of just writing down some person’s name that you want to call, say call Jim to discuss potential people he might know for this position. That way, later when you look at it you won’t be guessing what the heck it means, you’ll remember. Just start with a next action sheet, you can create it on your computer, that’s our brains work.