Figuring out that next step looks and feels differently depending on your vantage point. Even with the best view, there are times when we get stuck. There are many ways to move forward and figure out what to do next. However, the type of next can influence the approach we choose.
5 Different Types of Next & How to Solve Doing Them
1. Next for the Day
It can be the beginning, middle or end of the day. You are ready to act, but you’re not sure what to start or stop working on next. Consider how much time you have for next. Do you have 15 minutes or several hours? Do you have time for doing a single task or do you have hours to accomplish a larger project? What else is on your day’s agenda? What is your energy like right now? The answers become your clues to help you find your next step.
2. Next for the Project
Projects take multiple steps to complete. Some of those steps we can do ourselves. Certain steps require feedback or contributions from others before we can complete the project. Assess where you are right now. To move forward, is there a next step you can complete on your own? Do you need to reach out to someone for his or her help, input, or contribution? Do you have a to do list? Are you keeping all the steps in your head? Will your next step be planning or action based? Getting the elements organized so you know your timeline, what needs to be done, delegated, or researched will help you figure out your project’s next step.
3. Next for a Life Transition
Maybe you’re moving, changing jobs, having a baby, getting divorced, or becoming an empty nester. These are dramatic and stressful times. You’re going into unfamiliar territory. Your routines are turned upside down. You’re hoping to find that “new normal” soon…very soon. There are so many things to handle. Surprises appear each day. You don’t know what to do next. Take a deep breath. Exhale. Take another. Exhale again. Let yourself feel whatever you’re feeling. Acknowledge and label that emotion. Take another deep breath. Exhale. Again. Face the unknown and choose next anyway.
4. Next When Clueless
When there are too many choices, too many possible directions to go in, and not a strong sense of where to head, we might say something like, “I have no clue what I want to do next.” You might be experiencing decision fatigue just thinking about making your next choice. There is nothing pulling you to act. You just don’t know what to do. You’re drawing a blank. This happens. It’s normal. Give yourself a break. Get some air. Take a walk. Shift your focus to something fun and enjoyable. Let your thoughts percolate. Let yourself relax instead of feeling pressured to do something. Very often the act of stepping away, activating our bodies, or getting outside can help clear our thoughts enough to find a way forward.
5. Next When Overwhelmed
Overwhelm is probably the most common type of next that my clients experience. They feel so overwhelmed by the volume of things on their to do lists, the volume of spaces and areas they’d like to organized, and their time constraints, that they get stuck with figuring out next. Next seems too big, too impossible, and too far into the future. They hear and feel the noise of the volume, which prevents them from moving forward. The key here is to think small…really small. Big is overwhelming, but small is doable. Things will move forward with one small step at a time. What is the smallest action you can take? Build from there.
Have you noticed another type of next? Which of these five resonate with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation.