The next step decides whether you achieve your goals

March 05, 2012
Image by http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=712097

"A long journey begins with the first step" [Lao Tse]

Avoid putting off tasks by defining the next step you are going to take the moment you create the task.

Tasks that have already been started are suspended much more seldom. If a task is not precisely defined it can easily be put off. That’s because you cannot plan a task if you do not know exactly what the task requires. So if you do not have a concrete idea of the task in your head, for the time being you do not need to busy yourself with it any further. But that leads to tasks at some point becoming either overdue and therefore a problem, or being shoved into the category of things “I always really wanted to do, but somehow never got around to doing” .

This can be counteracted by taking a minute when creating a task to define in advance at least the first step that you are going to take. By initially establishing the first step you have the following advantages:


  • The task becomes concrete. It becomes clear what you need to do next.

  • Your unconscious mind accepts the task as ‘already begun’. Your unconscious mind begins to deal with the task and to produce solutions.

  • Mammoth tasks are broken down into manageable, smaller single steps.

Here’s an example that should clarify these three advantages:

If you create as a task for yourself the production of your tax declaration, there is the danger at first that in the next few weeks this task will be put off repeatedly. Excuses like “I don’t have enough time left for that today anyway” or „It’s a lovely day so I don’t want to spend my time doing that“ are easy to come by. Each time you put it off the task takes on a greater scale in your head, until it becomes a monolith that seems impossible to surmount.

So what happens now if instead of this you plan the next step you are going to take right when you create the task?

“The next thing is to get all the receipts together”.

And there you have it: you already have a concrete idea of the direction the task is going in. You’ve also started to deal with the task, and in your eagerness have defined perhaps not only one, but several steps. What’s more, the task isn’t an insurmountable monolith anymore, but just a small step that you have to take which the next little step will follow.

Do you know how to eat an elephant? – Piece by piece ;-)


Did you know …
… that with LifeQuadrants you too have the chance to plan the next steps for your task? With LifeQuadrants you can easily overcome your procrastinitis and increase your productivity.

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