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The Next Step

2012/11/11 - Author: Marco Neves

Any journey starts with a single step, doesn’t matter how long the journey is.

This is the basic principle behind making anything happen. Big projects are made of smaller tasks, big goals are most of the time the sum of several smaller objectives.

It is important to look at the big picture, to know what is the objective, but only to help pick the one thing that we can do now that will take us closer to our goal.

Whenever you are done with a task, stop and look around for a moment.

What is the thing you would like to do next? What is the one thing that is most important for you and for your goals from everything that needs to be done, from everything that can be done?

You, most likely, belong to one of two groups:

  1. the group of people who have too many things to do
  2. the group of people who thinks that all they want to do is blocked by someone else.

If you belong to the second group (people who don’t have anything they can work on now), the next thing you have to do is create a list of things you want to do, things you want changed, and that there is at least one thing you can do about them – NOW!

A list of things that you will be able to do some time in the future can be useful, but not for our current needs.

At this moment your task is to create a list of things you can act on right after you finish your list. The tasks must be as specific as possible, they must be actionable, and they should be as measurable as possible.

“Get a job” is not a task for that list, it is a wish, and wishes are a different thing about which we will talk later.

“Find a job offering I am qualified for and that I would like” is a possible task for the list.

The difference between the two is that you can complete the second without anyone else help, while the first implies that someone else will employ you – you depend on someone else’ actions, it gets out of your control – and that is where anxiety, depression, delusion and desempowerment start.

Now, back to the list – go do it now. I wait, as well as everyone from the group who have too much to do next. Go, go make your list of things you want to do and that you can do now! Take your time, whatever time you need, but do it now, don’t stop and don’t do anything else until you’re done.

Ok. Now that you have your list, I bet you just become part of the first group, you have too many things to do, don’t you?

So, if you are part of the second group, if you have too many things to do, you just have to pick one ans start doing it.

Easy, isn’t it? You choose one task from that list that is the most important thing you can be doing right now and do it. Easy, isn’t it?

Well, if you can’t decide what from your task list is the most important thing to do now, maybe your list needs some trimming.

First, there is anything in your list that you don’t want to do and that if it is not done nothing wrong will happen? – Move them to your not to do list. If you don’t want to do it and it doesn’t need to be done, don’t lose time with it.

Second, is anything in your list that you can do in just a few minutes and be done with it? Why are those in your list in the first place? If something can be done in a short time, just do it as soon as you can and be done with them.

The things that remain in your list now, most likely belong to one of four categories – practical issues, enjoying live, small projects and big projects.

In a later post I will take a deeper look at this categories, the type of tasks in each of them and how to select them in a more methodical way, but I would suggest  that you resolve any practical  issues – those things that have an immediate impact on your daily live as soon as possible, and then try to alternate items from the other three types according with availability of the necessary resources and personal preference.

The important thing is that you get to the next step as soon as you finish the previous one, and that you always know, not only what you are doing next, but also why you are doing it. If there is no need and no wish to do something, you will delay doing it, it’ll take more time to finish and most likely will not be done with the same quality.

If you don’t need and don’t want to do it, just don’t do it – get a different next step.

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