“I want to get the raised beds prepped so I can start growing vegetables this year.
“But we need to cut all the poles off the sycamore coppice, and tidy up the space underneath it.
“And we need to fill in the tremendous holes the chickens are digging under the fir tree.
“And there’s that mahoosive tangle of brambles that’s choking the banks, we need to chop that back so we can reclaim it.
“I haven’t planted any bulbs yet, and the trees along the dingle all need cutting back. And the fruit trees – we should have pruned them, but I don’t know how. And we need to build a new front for the compost heap and tidy up where it’s all been dragged out. And the courtyard – that needs tidying. And the banks, they need sowing with wildflower seeds…
“Then there’s the inside. We’ve not even made a decision on where the stairs are going, and if we do, what if it doesn’t work with the rest of the renovation, we have to consider where the new roofline will be when we build the new kitchen, and and AND…”
Ever have that feeling about All The Things? I do this in my business, too, from time to time. Too. Many. Ideas. And all that happens is overwhelm. Not having a clue where to start. So what do you do? Same as I’ve been doing this past two weekends with the house and garden.
Nothing. We don’t start, because the whole thing is just too much. Instead, the stress builds up and so do the jobs, and still nothing gets done.
And it builds up and up and gets worse and worse, and we beat ourselves up as we procrastinate even harder. And it gets more and more painful until…
I got up yesterday morning and marched outside and grabbed a machete and some snips and started laying into that bramble tangle. And Joe took the chainsaw and de-poled the giant sycamore. And we cleared several cubic metres of bramble and loads of poles. And do you know what? It was fun. It was productive. And it was much less painful than all that procrastinating.
So this morning, I got up again and marched outside again and we moved the chickens around (they’re under house arrest because of this bird flu so they’re making a right mess of their enclosure). Then I pulled apart all the cardboard boxes I could find and laid them on top of the grass within raised bed #1. Mulching, you see. After that, I filled several wheelbarrow loads of soggy leaves, used chicken-straw and newspaper and chicken poo, and chucked all that on top.
Suddenly, after weeks of wondering what to do with the raised beds and how to get started, I found out what I needed to do and JFDI. Next step: line it with poly sheeting to keep the ick from the sleepers away, and order some soil and get it in there.
We kept going through the rain.
We’ll do it again next week, because if we do it often enough it’ll become a habit. And instead of being overwhelmed, we’ll start with one thing and do it until we’ve done as much as we can.
This is all it takes to make progress in your business. There’s no “secret formula”, no “blueprint”, no complicated “system”. Just setting your priority, naming your tasks, and JFDI.
Make it a habit to get stuff done. The February newsletter will give you everything you need to understand why and how your brain works the way it does, and everything you need to start new habits and change bad ones for good. It goes to print on February 1. Subscription info here:
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.
PS Look, Granny Featherwax gets it: that’s how to beat overwhelm…