Procrastination

What To Do When Everything Feels Really Hard

Do you ever feel like everything is just too hard?

Even the most everyday tasks feel like too much to deal with? There’s no food in the house but the idea of walking around that supermarket (kids or no kids) feels exhausting. You haven’t exercised for weeks but the thought of going for a run in this weather feels impossible. The inbox of emails is piling up, but it feels too overwhelming to deal with them. 

Now, to the observer, this all might read like a list of first world problems, and of course in that context, there are many who would happily trade their real problems for ones like these; that’s not what this article is about. This is about how to get yourself moving again, when you’re so stuck that you feel like you’re walking through treacle.

I once worked with a client who was struggling with a room in his house that was full of junk. He knew he wanted it clear so he could rent it out and make some additional income. But every time he saw the words “clear out spare room”, it made him feel overwhelmed and stressed. And so he would leave it, but of course procrastinating only served to make him feel worse, because that niggling thought kept boomeranging back to him.

Tasks feel stressful when they are too big or we set our expectations too high.  De-cluttering an entire room and making it ready for a potential lodger is not a task, it’s a project. Often we expect ourselves to bosh through tasks quickly, when actually what we need is a Project Manager on hand to help us through it!

In the absence of that, you can do this. Think of something you’ve been procrastinating on recently. Now, take that thing and break it down into as many small steps as you can.  So for example, going outside for a run might be: find trainers, check weather forecast, get running gear out of cupboard, get changed, create a playlist, find key, put trainers on, plan a route, open the door, warm up with walk first, set watch, run for 10 minutes.

That’s 12 steps.  So going for a run does not start with ‘going for a run’. It starts with ‘finding trainers’, that’s it. So do that. And when that’s done, look at the next step, and just do that. One baby step at a time.

And then there will become a moment, when that thing begins to feels effortless again, and it’s something you just do without question.

Now.. I wonder how many steps are involved in making a cup of tea?

Sarah Swanton is the Founder of Happy Healthy Entrepreneur, which is all about helping business owners and entrepreneurs successfully navigate their way through the ‘inner journey’ of being self employed, so they can do their best work with clients, and build a business that supports them, not exhausts them! Click here to get access to your free Mindset Toolkit for Entrepreneurs which includes the self hypnosis audio ‘Switch Off & Relax’ as well as a copy of the Burnout Antidote Framework

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