What to do when you feel like you just can’t get started on a project

time management, time management skills, procrastination, perfection, perfectionism, get over being a perfectionist, get started, finish my project, joe serio, get the nerve, get the nerve to succeed

So, you have a new project to work on. You’re looking at it, you feel it looking at you, you’re both sizing each other up. You know you could get started right now and probably knock it out quickly. But for some reason, you just can’t. (And you sense your project mocking you.)

Moving from inaction to action can be one of the hardest things. But why?

Frequently, your brain moves faster than your body, telling you all the reasons you should go slow, telling you all the prep work that must be done before you can begin, telling you how scary it will be. So, you wait until the last minute, telling yourself you do your best work under pressure. (No, you don’t.)

One way to handle this is to start before you’re ready.

Just get to work. So often, it’s the action itself, not the endless thinking, that teaches you how—in fact, urges you—to move forward. When you act, you get to see new things about the project you’re working on that you couldn’t have known from just thinking about it.

If you get stuck waiting for conditions to be perfect, that allows all kinds of resistance to slip in.

All the negative, pessimistic things you can dream up now have a chance to take over and convince you of all the reasons you don’t want to get started. Then, more time slips by and you still haven’t done what you should have. Your fear starts to eat at you.

Surprisingly, preparing too much can actually increase the pressure in your mind that everything has to be perfect. It increases the fear that you may not be able to live up to your own expectations—which are probably based on fear in the first place.

For all I accomplish, sometimes getting started can still be difficult. In fact, the most critical part of a project for me is the first five minutes. When I get started quickly, I can go all day. The action fuels more action, and it doesn’t matter what kind of project I’m working on. It could be writing, playing guitar, or cleaning the house.

So, don’t wait to get started, even if you’re not quite sure what you’re doing yet.

If you wait until you’re absolutely ready to start, it’s too late. The moment has passed. You’ve missed opportunities to see things you might not have seen otherwise, and you end up racing to get the project done at the last minute.

What kinds of things, opportunities, chances do you think you’ve missed out on because you’re too busy being “perfectly” ready? Tell me in the comments what you’re not willing to miss out on any more.

About Joe Serio

Dr. Joe Serio is a keynote speaker, trainer, and author who helps the people in your organization navigate resistance to change so they can move forward successfully.

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