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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« 6 Tips for Next | What Are Resources for Change? »

How to Do Next

Sometimes next isn’t obvious. Other times we know what next is, but procrastinate. We’re too tired. It’s late. We don’t feel like it. We’d rather be doing something else with our time. While I don’t find myself in this situation frequently, I have experienced knowing the next step then have activation challenges actually taking it. Have you experienced this?

As a matter of fact, I found myself in this situation just before I wrote this post. While my plan had been to write when I returned from organizing at my client’s home, other business and personal issues were handled instead. The late afternoon quickly morphed into evening and I still hadn’t written anything. This wasn’t good since I prefer to write earlier in the day when my brain is most alert.

I had several options and chose to continue as planned, which is why you’re reading this post. To make “next” more doable, I set the mood. I made a hot cup of tea, put on my comfy clothes, and plopped myself in front of a blank page.

I let go of my original plan. I let go of the fact that I wasn’t writing at my best time. Instead I just focused on next: the next word, the next sentence, and the next paragraph. And well, you see what happened. By creating the mood for next, next got done.

How do you do next? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation.





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Reader Comments (10)

For me what's next is what is the baby step of a project. I relate to your description of how unexpected interference disrupts what's next at times. But knowing I only have to do what is the smallest next step gives me a sense of moving forward and productivity. Just getting started can be the hardest part, but knowing and doing the little next step, it's a relief. Some times we have to just do and next happens.

March 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

I know what you mean, Linda when the next step you have planned is not necessarily what you really want to do. I take a moment to think about why it's best in the long run if I go ahead and take care of the task at hand. Sometimes the reason to forge ahead is obvious - like there isn't another good time to do whatever it is anytime soon. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it's just as important (to me) to keep the appointments I make with myself as with anyone else.

March 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

We make a lot of jokes about procrastination, and it is good to be able to laugh at ourselves. But ultimately, procrastination steals our joy, hanging our incomplete responsibilities over our heads like a shoe waiting to drop. Next for me is just taking one tiny step -- any step -- to keep the ball moving forward. Even the tiniest bit of progress can relieve a lot of stress.

March 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

I loved this post Linda. Particularly how you framed it. I never thought of it as next. But "Next" defines the moment and for me then defines the task. You got me thinking of how I do things and you might laugh, but my "next" is usually a time frame and not a task. I like to play a game with myself. I sit down at my desk, set the timer for an hour and tell myself what ever email I read, paper I pick up or project I look at, I just focus on that. It's like a race against the clock. Not everything gets done during that block of time but I am highly productive and it moves me through the procrastination!

March 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterleslie josel

I am now where you were. Knowimg nothing about my next post, thank to yours I have now a pretty good startimg point, I'll write a post about responsability and how the only way to achieve happiness in life is taking control of my own life, being responsible of my own journey to it.

Thank you Linda.

March 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

Linda, the next for me is sometimes allowing myself to let go of what I had planned. I am a great planner, and after the birth of my son(which didn't go as I planned) I learned to embrace next a little more.

March 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

This is great encouragement for bloggers - or anyone else - who struggles with focusing on the task at hand when the conditions aren't optimal. I love Diane's point: "there isn't another good time to do whatever it is anytime soon." I find that to be especially good advice when the task is something I'm reluctant to start.

March 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

It's a party! How wonderful to "hear" all of your voices.

@Ellen- It's all in those baby steps, isn't it?

@Diane- Great strategy to stop and think about the "why" before taking that next step as a way of activating.

@Seana- So true about how procrastination can be a joy thief. Sounds like you and Ellen agree about the power of those small steps. Me too.

@Leslie- What an interesting motivator you use for doing next! The timer is a great tool.

@Nacho- Glad to have helped prime your writing pump. I like the topic for the post you're about to write.

@Jill- I'm with you with the letting go part. Plans and goals are important, but flexibility is essential. Because as we know, things don't always go as we plan. It's neither good or bad, just different.

@Janet- We strive for optimal, but it's just not always possible. So using the tiny step concept that Ellen and Seana mentioned helps in doing "next." Thanks for highlighting Diane's advice. I can also see that phrase working as an activator.

March 3, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Getting comfy for next is an awesome idea, especially if you are thinking about putting it off. I love chocolate as a motivational tool.
I love Seana's procrastination comment. I would rather spend time getting something done, than lose sleep or time thinking about what I haven't done.
Thank you so much for this post Linda! I loved reading all the comments.

March 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRachel Seavey

Rachel- Setting the mood or "right" conditions for next helps with moving forward. I'm a big fan of chocolate. How creative that you use it as a motivational tool. Good point about doing rather than worrying about doing. Often the task at hand seems larger the more we ruminate and think about it. Yet when we actually start, it's very manageable.

March 7, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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