“Don’t wait for the perfect conditions to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” – Alan Cohen
So, when is the last time you procrastinated near the beginning of a project or task? Well, I can tell you that definitely happens to me a lot! Can procrastinating be productive? If it means taking a short break, or if it leads you to your intended path, sure. In general, though, I feel that inaction at the beginning of a task is the worst kind; BEGINNING is so important!
Since I love Alan Cohen’s idea that beginning makes the conditions perfect, today’s post is about fresh starts.
Just Begin at the Beginning
Well, those of you who have been reading The Teaching Cove for awhile know that my PhD is my current biggest struggle. In fact, just yesterday, I was feeling so overwhelmed, and a good friend helped me just START. Little by little, piece by piece, one step at a time – it all seems so simple on paper, but sometimes the drive to just start gets lots in a meandering forest of confusion.
Sound familiar to anyone?
Apparently, Plato once said “The beginning is the most important part of the work”. Why? Well, it’s simple. Simply beginning gives rise to momentum, no matter how slowly you end up moving.
Moving like a turtle? Don’t worry! If I had to count the number of hours I spent staring at screens while trying to figure out my next “move” in the mountain trail of the PhD , it would be depressing, I’m sure 😉 A step forward is a step in the right direction, so remember to simply begin.
How To Stop Feeling Overwhelmed
By the way, I’d definitely suggest grabbing an accountability buddy if you can find one! What’s what? Actually, it’s exactly what it sounds like – a friend who holds you accountable. Be sure you set a goal for yourself (you have my goal setting template in the printables library, right?) and then tell someone about it.
Actually, you’d be surprised how well it works. Yes, I’m serious. The simple act of having someone else check up on you and ask how [insert your beginning project task here] is going can be SO motivating.
3 Ways To Get A Fresh Start
Need a break? A way to procrastinate that’s actually productive? Here are three ways I’ve been trying to get that “fresh start” feeling while stuck in an “old” project that’s taking its time to complete.
1. Try Something Completely New (and unrelated to your project)
However, the catch is that you must return to your project when you’re done. Make yourself a promise and then – go wild! Choose a simple, easy to learn hobby or activity you’ve never tried and schedule it into your week. For example, I bought a lemon tree today and talked to a florist about how to take care of the plants my landlord has on the balcony. I am the worst with plants, but I’ve decided to dedicate a smidgen of time this summer turning that around.
2. Find A Different Pair of Eyes To Take A Look
Well, if you’re really stuck on your project or problem, there’s nothing better than a second pair of eyes! Have “fresh eyes” look at your project and give it a “fresh start”. This one’s pretty simple, but it works. (Just ask friends who have been pouring over my PhD data with new eyes for me 😉
3. Get Out In Nature
So, you all know that I’m not good at taking deep breaths. Well, I’m working on that! However, I do find that being in nature is kind of like a natural deep breath that can give me that “fresh start” feeling before diving into my project again. Now, I’m lucky that I live in Barcelona – where the mountains, beach, and the city are all easy to reach. I’m sure you can find your own little oasis in your town, though – even if it’s a beautiful summer park trail! Get out in nature, enjoy it, breathe, and get back to work.
Well, I realize today’s post was a brief one! However, I hope that your summer is off to an excellent start, and that you have been taking little breaks (as I clearly have!) Stay tuned for a lot more resources coming from The Teaching Cove this summer, as I get right down to it.
Have a lovely and productive Monday!
P.S. The photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took in Salou, Spain last spring (2016).
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