Progress may be imperceptible, but it’s always happening. Stop worrying about how much you’re getting done, and just concentrate on pointing in the right direction, and being present with what you are doing.
You will find that over time you will accomplish things, and you will have spent less time allowing worry and thought ‘churn’ to distract you.
It’s a simple concept. Time marches on, no matter what we are doing, and so inevitably if we ensure we are pointing in the right direction and doing something, even small amounts of work will add up to something bigger.
It’s easy as a freelancer or small business owner to allow yourself to get caught up in deadlines and start to feel inadequate. Being in control of what you work on can mean there is a never ending list of ideas, no obvious initial direction, and little help, which only adds to the pressure. I feel like I always have something else I could be doing, and there is always an opportunity I could be pursuing or maximising that I’m somehow screwing up or letting slide instead.
But guess what? In a regular day job hundreds of tiny things fall by the wayside, opportunities are missed, deadlines arrive quicker than we hoped, estimates are off… working for yourself is no different, and there is no reason to beat yourself up about it.
My To-Do list these days doesn’t feature items like ‘Finish stage 2 of ProjectZ‘. Instead, it says ‘Work on ProjectZ‘. I tick it off if I did any work on the project, no matter how small. Some days I get a lot done on it, many others I only do a little, but even on those days I am still keeping the Project within my awareness. It stops me from feeling so overwhelmed by any one part. It’s not a perfect system, but using this small trick to keep my motivation and avoid feeling overwhelmed stops me getting paralysed by indecision and worry.
So just point yourself in the right direction, and stop worrying about how much you are achieving in the given time.
(Flickr credit: davidflanders)