Tuesday June 7, 2016
As an entrepreneur, you've probably had many times when you needed to work on an important project, but your energy levels just weren't up to the task.
Your mind was foggy, your concentration was scattered, and no matter how much you looked at your work, you just couldn't tell if it was good enough or not.
But the project needed to be done, preferably in a timely manner, so what do you do?
Here are four ways you can make progress on your tasks, even when you're tired, without exhausting yourself or doing high-stakes work when you can't give it your best:
1. Create an outline.
If you're having trouble writing the material for your program, blog post, webinar, ebook, or other project, you may find it easier to start by creating an outline.
Instead of trying to write a fully fleshed-out first draft when you're mentally struggling, create a list of the things your project will need - all the teaching points, instructions, dos and don'ts, stories, examples, and selling points.
Don't stress out over the quality of the phrasing, or whether or not the list is complete; you can double-check it when you've had more rest. Just get as much relevant material as you can, and do your best to put it in the order in which it needs to appear.
This way, you're still moving forward on your project, but you aren't doing finely detailed, high-stakes work that needs a keen eye and a clear mind to make sure it's fully polished.
2. Do the easy parts now, and note the hard decisions for later.
Sometimes, when I'm working on a project while I'm tired, I encounter a segment that needs more thought.
Maybe it's a thought I'm having trouble putting into words, or a fact I need to double-check, or a decision I'll have to make.
At this point, if I'm really struggling with it, I try not to let it slow me down or to settle for less-than-great work. Instead, I make a note beside it to come back to it later, when I have more mental energy to work with.
3. Swap out the hard task for an easy one.
If you're already on the final draft of your important project, and there's no easy work left to do for it, it may be necessary to swap that bit of work out with something easier from tomorrow's to-do list.
If you're staring blankly at the draft you're editing, and struggling to mentally process it, take a look at your calendar.
Can the difficult task be completed tomorrow? And is there something easier from tomorrow that you can do today, to free up some time in the next day's schedule when you'll hopefully be more rested?
4. Take it in bite-sized chunks.
Sometimes, when I'm feeling really worn out and daunted by the task ahead of me, it's hard for me to tackle the entire project.
Looking at the entire looming pile of work can freeze me in my tracks... so instead of thinking about the whole task, I take it one chunk at a time.
I don't think about moving my entire website from one host to another. I think about moving this page, or this paragraph.
I don't think about editing the whole book; I focus on the next sentence, then the next, then the next.
When you have to eat an elephant, you eat it one bite at a time. Don't think about the entire elephant; just focus on the next little thing you have to do, and get it done.
Do you have any tips for how to get things done when you're tired?
Are you currently working on any projects that are being hindered by exhaustion?
I look forward to reading your comments.