Have you ever noticed that change is a shape shifter?
Think back to the last time you had to learn a new skill, develop a new process or even move to a new environment. How hard does it seem when you begin? Every step has to be thought about - and it all seems to take a disproportionate amount of time.
I remember when I first got serious about e-commerce on my website some years ago. When I looked at all the things I needed to do and learn, it seemed like a huge mountain in the way. Even whilst I battled with new ways of doing things, setting a day aside here and there, squeezing new learning in around all the other 'stuff', sneaking early-morning sessions into already busy schedules, it still seemed like an almost insurmountable obstacle. Everything seemed complicated, everything seemed hard, everything seemed to take AGES!
Trouble was, I was trying to get my head around about four different major new technologies. Overwhelmed was the result. If I allowed myself to feel frustrated I wasted even more time. When I accepted that it would take time, and that it was ok to feel confused, it wasn't as bad and each time it got easier.
Eventually came a day when the work was done. New information and new habits became second nature. And suddenly the mountain of tasks and new knowledge that seemed so overwhelming at the beginning of the journey had become a very small foothill - once I reached the top. It felt as though the task had shifted shape. Or was it my mind, attitude and expectations that had shifted shape?
What events, what new learnings, are you confronting right now? What seems like a mountain in your world?
Here are some of the strategies I use in such situations: some may be helpful for you.
1. Keep focused on the main target - when you doubt yourself, when the journey seems too hard, step back and remember the reason you're doing it.
2. Do something long-term on the chosen project every day if possible, and at the time of day when you have the greatest energy.
3. If you've already got a too-full commitment list it might be necessary to get up earlier to include something extra.
4. What can you reduce or eliminate from your current task list? Drop off anything you can that's not absolutely critical. What routine tasks can wait, be delegated or just ignored until you've conquered your new habits or mastered your new knowledge?
5. Chunk down your activities to the core issues: don't get bogged down on unimportant peripherals that try to divert you into dead ends.
6. Put yourself into a position where you have to push through, even if you don't want to. Make a commitment to someone else - it's usually a good tool to overcome potential procrastination! It then becomes like having a baby - there's only one way out!
7. To avoid discouragement, keep a daily focus on what you have achieved, rather than what's yet to be done.
8. Mindset - new things are hard to do until they're easy, and then you wonder what all the fuss was about. Expect that.
9. Pressure will freeze your brain - for a while. Don't try to learn something new when you haven't got time to experiment. Don't try to implement something new when you're rushing out the door - Murphy's Law WILL prevail, and unnecessary stress is the result.
10. Find supportive people to help when you get stuck. Be prepared to pay them - they've invested their time in learning what you need to know. They can save you hours of time and frustration.
11. Take time at the end to savour your success.