When working towards a goal, it can be easy to get caught up in busy work that doesn’t matter, or be paralyzed by all the possible next steps so you don’t do anything. To get the positive change that you want, focus on the things that really matter. Take your challenges head on. Grab the bull by the horns.
Don’t fall into the trap of being “busy” but not really accomplishing anything. Whenever a task or problem is too large or complex to fully comprehend, you can apply a heuristic to help you make progress, even if you can’t fully visualize everything you’re going to have to do.
The blog Personal Development for Smart People, has a list of heuristics you could use to help you be productive when you have a project or tasks at hand. They don’t always result in the most efficient solution, but they are good at helping you take action and “break the deadlock of indecision.” Here’s a few heuristics you can give a try:
- Worst first. To defeat procrastination learn to tackle your most unpleasant task first thing in the morning instead of delaying it until later in the day. This small victory will set the tone for a very productive day.
- Deadline. Set a deadline for task completion, and use it as a focal point to stay on track.
- Slice and dice. Break complex projects into smaller, well-defined tasks. Focus on completing just one of those tasks.
- Glittering prizes. Give yourself frequent rewards for achievement. See a movie, book a professional massage, or spend a day at an amusement park.
- Model. Find people who are already getting the results you want, interview them, and model their attitudes, beliefs, and behavior.
- Randomize. Pick a totally random piece of a larger project, and complete it. Pay one random bill. Make one phone call. Write page 42 of your book.
You don’t need to do more than one or two at once, but heuristics can be a fun and effective way to get things done!
Want to get started with change? We’re here to help. Check out Change Anything to learn how you can take control of your life and make permanent changes for the better.