I'm in a slump, what do i do to get out of it?
On the last article, click here to read it, we established that collecting ideas is only as good as our ability to act on them. ...and so, we've come to what I'd like to call, "What did I do about what I realized?" portion of the article
Action is a habit forming drug...
Well, maybe not really a drug, more like a euphoric.
You get two things from taking action, 1) The joy of seeing something that was once in your mind, become flesh 2) A step to making "Taking Action" your habit.
I mean, we all got it in us, we just have to work on it. The thing is, we always forget to do the most crucial thing. "Take one step forward." Yes I know it seems overly simplistic, but it is true.
Slowly, as you take action on more and more things in your life, you would get to realize that it becomes easier to do. Why? Because "Action is also a muscle" among other things. It means, you can form a habit around it. Once you've done it enough time, it becomes muscle memory.
When it does become muscle memory - without even flinching, you can take action instantly.
We have a major tendency to aggrandize even the most mundane of ideas...
This, in most cases, is great, but because of our tendency to over estimate our plans - for obvious fear of missing details, we have a major tendency to feel too overwhelmed - and we haven't even began acting yet.
In my experience, acting (a little bit) before planning, is better than getting nothing done. Say for example, you want to set up a facebook page for things you can sell online.
Most of us will proceed to plan, 1) What will we sell? 2) Where will we get it? 3) How do we bring it to the people who will buy them? 4) How do we market it to them? 5) ... 6) ... 7) ... and a few minutes later you'll be on your phone googling "causes of stress" instead of actually being stress because you did something.
In this case, it's better to start the facebook page - you don't have to publish it for now, you just need to create it so you have an investment that your mental state of 'taking action' can latch on to.
A mentor once told me, "it's better to get things done, even at half effort, than to never get things done at all"
Think like a project manager...
What does this mean?
Simple... remember this phrase and live by it "Every Hard Task, is just a series of small and easy steps" Which is very very true.
Take for example the task of opening a small business like the one my co-partners Neil and Patrick and I set up, The White Dog Collective.
The plan was to set up a Digitization and Marketing Company with a Business Process Outsourcing arm. And man was this plan difficult, and not to mention time consuming. But when we cut it down to small pieces, like 1) get our 1st client 2) help that client grow 3) get our 2nd client by leveraging on the experiences from the 1st... and on and on... until it became second nature to us, and instead of one big task, it became a series of small things we were able to delegate amongst each other.
So again, remember - just break the big chunk into smaller chunks and work from there.
Distractions are Destructive
"The greatest trick the devil pulled, was convincing the world he didn't exist." - Verbal Kint, The Usual Suspects
Man's hubris, is often his greatest downfall. You would often find things that can distract you in life. Be it distractions that are involuntary - like a meeting with your teams and bosses, which in all honesty could be sent on an email. Or voluntary distractions like, "Wow! I'm glad I got this one thing done today, let me play game of thrones conquest for 30mins, I'm sure I won't develop a habit of this" --- 6 hours later...
"I'm sure I won't develop a habit of this." is the deal breaker. When you start feeling confident that you are the master of your ship your defenses go down. When your defenses go down, you're much more susceptible to losing time on leisure than on taking action, and when this becomes a habit - there goes your plans.
So my take away, don't give the devil a chance to play inside your head.
Find an activity that can energize the drive in you...
Basically, create a ritual to bring back your attention to the work you need to do.
Why do you need this? Because you're only human. There will be times when your energy level is so low that you can't think about work. Or maybe your depression is kicking in that you find it hard to even lift a finger. This depression can also bring back the anxieties you may have about the work that you need doing - this you have to take control of.
For me, my ritual, when I get downtrodden is:
I do any small organizing task, be it organizing my small bag; or folding my clothes, or reorganizing my table
Followed by a quick bite to eat, anything small like a tiny bag of chips or a banana
Then I take a short shower
The thing is that, it's so effective that by the time I finish point (1) my mind has already tired itself out thinking of the nonsense things that worries me, when I finish point (2) I'm at a point when I'm just chilling my mind, and as I do point (3) I'm rummaging ideas in my head about the tasks I'm supposed to do that when I finish taking a bath, my body immediately goes to my computer to set up work.
Everyone has their own different version of a ritual, you just have to find yours.
Finally, put schedule to your tasks...
Never do it all at the same time, even if the urge pushes you to.
It'll ruin your momentum with all the other small bits of tasks you have to accomplish. Basically, build your schedule up so the tasks don't enslave you. Your to-do list have to be the dictator of your todos, and not the other way around.
Easier said, than done, yes! But like "taking action" it is a muscle too, and every muscle requires exercise, toning, and habit, to grow, expand and be powerful.
Rhiz Manalo, is the co-partner to CentrAsia Tours, Co-Founder and Co-Owner or The White Dog Collective. He is a seasoned digital marketing expert, an experienced blogger, systems architect, web designer, and a loving father to a beautiful 7 year old girl whom he misses so much!
Check out his portfolio here.