Welcome to Freelance Friday! Each Friday, I’ll share something Freelance-y that I learned during the week that will help other freelancers or entertain cubicle-queens. Thanks for reading!
I call this project paralysis just to fit some alliteration in there. It can also take the form of billing paralysis, cleaning paralysis, and cooking paralysis. Sometimes even at the same time.
It’s the feeling if sitting inside the eye of the hurricane, knowing that there are very important, very fun things that need to be done. But finding no. Motivation. Whatsoever.
Project Paralysis Feels Awful
No doubt a lot of people in a number of industries feel this way. You’re in your office or your home office with a mile-long to-do list of opportunities, projects, and ideas to move forward. But all of these ideas compete to get out through the same door (you). And so they get stuck.
Here’s an example of where my mind goes:
I can’t start drafting the new infographic until I have a blog post queued up. I want to have the formatting stage of the huge copywriting project done today, but that other blog post is due first so I should do it. This one isn’t due for a week, but you know what? I think I’ll do that one first… but should I?
None of these ideas ever help me get started or get motivated, they just spin around endlessly while I literally stare at my Macbook.
And here’s how I break through it: I do something. Anything. Quickly.
Doing Something Gets the Gears Turning
When I feel this way, usually around 10am on Thursdays (AKA yesterday), I have to grab myself by the scruff of my neck and DO SOMETHING.
Sometimes that’s something physical, and I find it helps to move myself physically. Maybe that’s a walk around the neighborhood, or an errand in town, or laundry, dishes, and vacuuming. It could be as simple as taking a shower or cooking lunch a little early just to break it up.
Sometimes that’s something mental, and I pick a random project to knock off my to do list like writing a personal email, a hand-written note, or making a doctor’s appointment.
What matters is that I move forward and use my time in a way that gets something done, even if it’s not “the thing I need to get done today.” Even with an important deadline on the horizon, the only way to get off the paralysis train is to step away from the keyboard to get moving. Otherwise you reach the end of the day with tired eyes and nothing to show for it.