Take it one step at a time
People are not good at looking at the big picture. That’s why we feel stressed when we are faced with big projects. We picture it as a mountain that we must start climbing right away, or find the quickest way to the top.
I always find myself feeling overwhelmed when I have a lot of things on my schedule. It seems like I have to solve the problem right then and there, and the pressure usually makes me procrastinate.
For example, I have to build a website for one of my classes. Whenever I thought about it in the past, I felt like I had to perfect the website and know everything about the final product. I would crumble under the pressure and made excuses to escape that feeling.
So today when I started building it, I felt that immense pressure coming back and my brain was telling me that it was struggling. Whenever something wouldn’t work the way I imagined it, I panicked. No matter what I was doing, I would think of other features of the site I had to build. I felt like I was running out of time.
These are the crucial times where I realized I shouldn’t give up. I had to realize that I was overwhelming myself for no reason. I was trying to imagine the big picture: the final product. I wasn’t paying attention to the building blocks that made up the website: the individual pages.
When you keep thinking about the big picture, it’s easy to feel like you’re never going to get there.
We forget that we can’t climb the mountain without actually taking the steps to get there.
We forget that we can’t build a skyscraper without putting down the foundations.
We forget that we can’t finish the marathon without taking the first step.
I took a step back. Instead of looking at everything I had to do, I started focusing on one page at a time. After I got one page down, I knew what I had to do for the other pages. Before I knew it, I had completed most of my project.
When I split up the big project into small pieces, it become bearable. It became realistic. It became easy.
A lot of us look at things in life in the big picture. We set a goal to climb mountains and achieve great things, but we never move. We get scared because it seems so far away. It seems so hard and you don’t want to deal with the pain and suffering.
But if we look in our immediate surroundings, we realize that it’s not so bad. We start moving forward and we make progress. You don’t even realize that you’re halfway up the mountain, and before you know it you’re at the top.
We humans like when we’re comfortable and familiar with everything. We don’t like change. Especially if it is immediate. We try to fight that as much as we can, because it can be overwhelming.
But when we do it slowly and gradually, we tend to not notice it. The little habits and changes we implement grow to become big parts of our lives. We look back and we can’t even recognize our past selves anymore. We’ve changed for the better, and we don’t look back.
So the next time something feels overwhelming and you feel like you can’t do it, try taking it one step at a time. Take baby steps, and take your time. You’ll get there, so don’t worry and just start.
“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”