I cannot tell you how many times as a mom, and entrepreneur, even just as a basic human, I have asked myself this question. Where do I start? Whether looking at cleaning a messy room, looking at the kids’ homework, looking at cooking dinner, looking at growing my business or looking at improving my marriage or myself… This is a basic question, and one that can stump even the best of us at times.
This can be a paralyzing question. It sends me back to my childhood and my “hurricane room” that only once it was a foot deep in clothes and toys would annoy my mother enough to insist I clean it. At that point it was over-whelming and I would stair at the room for hours just asking myself that basic question… Where do I start? I could even rattle off what needed to be done if asked. I just could not prioritize things, or breakdown the process enough to find the starting point.
I didn’t conquer my messy room till I was shipped off to boarding school in high school, and my girls’ dean was kind enough to give me a basic check list of what she expected in each day’s/week’s room inspection. She also checked consistently and frequently so I was able to develop the habit of cleaning before the room became overwhelming.
I remember my mother coming for a visit and marveling at my clean room, while apologizing to the dean that my room must have caused her so much grief. The dean in turn telling my mom that I was one of the cleanest and most organized girls in the dorm and that she had never had to dock me points for a messy room. My mom was amazed, as was I. I had not even noticed the shift in my thinking and my habits… until I went home and was thrust back into the over-whelming environment.
What a life lesson! I have learned to apply some of the fame thinking to my family and my business:
- Take a deep breath before starting to think of a MASSIVE project
- Start with the END in Mind… that is my North Star
- Identify Stages/Steps/Milestones to progressively get to the Goal
- Take one step at a time… turtle slow still means moving forward
Note: If I can identify an issue Before it becomes a HUGE problem, even better, but that does not always happen, so the steps always help out.
What systems have you come up with for tackling over-whelming projects?