Baby Steps, My Friend. Baby Steps.

Overwhelmed by opportunity.  Paralyzed by possibility.

For some people, there are so many options out there that it’s hard to make a decision.  In some projects, it’s easy to analyze a project to death before getting started.

The problem is that while you’re busy considering every angle, you’re actually not doing anything.  You think you’re busy – heck, you’re probably even exhausted from thinking so much – but at the end of the day, all you’ve got is a piece of paper with scratches on it… which then goes right on top of the pile of papers with scratches from yesterday and the day before and the day before that… and so on.

How do you get from thinking to doing? How do you get from sitting around, wallowing in uncertainty, to crossing things off your to-do list?

It all comes down to baby steps.

Yesterday, after returning from a most blissful vacation out West, I was caught in a rabbit hole of inaction.  I knew what I needed to do, I just didn’t know how.

CrowdNotes just seemed so much bigger than anything I could work on at the moment.  All my other projects were overwhelming, too.  But I couldn’t for the life of me take a break from doing what I knew was actually nothing – after all, I had just been on vacation, for goodness sake!

And then I realized, I just had to do something.  It didn’t matter what.  It really didn’t even matter how.  I just had to do.

So I started by calling a friend and getting some information about an event I’m going to next week.  No big deal, right?  It’s just a conversation.  On the phone, even!  I didn’t have to put on a nice outfit or leave the house – I just had to pick up the phone and call.

Easy, right? I just had to write down some notes and digest the information he had given me.

My next task was, again, rather menial.  I started a presentation that I need to finish in the next week or so.  I didn’t have to finish it, I just needed to start it: Open PowerPoint.  Fill out the first slide.  Fill out the second slide.

Then I realized I needed to make a graphic for my presentation.  The graphic is complex, is it?  No worries, break it down.  Start with the easiest part first.  In the case of this specific graphic, it all starts with a circle.  Just a circle!

So I drew a circle.  And then, since the next component was another circle, but slightly bigger (there are 7 increasingly sized circles in all), I duplicated it, enlarged it, and moved it.  TADA!  Before I knew it, I had all 7 circles.

I know this sounds stupid.  It probably even sounds a bit like mocking.  But when you’re stuck like I was, sometimes all you need is a little push to get your momentum going.

This morning, I got up, ready to tackle CrowdNotes again.  I still wasn’t entirely sure of where to start, but I knew I just had to do something.  So I finally put in the basic code for Socket.io.  I’ll build on that later.  And I started playing around with a bit of redesign.  Again, I’ll build more on that later.  But at least I’m coding again, and I’m further along than I was before (even if it’s only by a fraction)!

I’m pretty proud of myself, actually, which is a nice change of pace from looking at myself critically and asking, why can’t you get anything done?!  Let yourself off the hook, my friend.  And take a couple baby steps to get back on track.