Whenever I am working on a project I like to make detailed plans. I list down every task I need to do. I order the tasks based on their priority and dependency. Then I take one task at a time and work through the list.
Sounds like a good approach right? Well, it usually works for me. But today I got stuck on the very first task I took up. At the end of the day, the said task was still pending and I had not been able to start with any other task. That was a serious blow to my self-confidence.
Right now I am in midst of turning my unemployment into self-employment. So, I am the only boss who assigns the tasks and I am the only one responsible for maintaining the timeline.
Logically I know that there will be several days when I will face one or the other setback. Tasks will take more time than I initially anticipated or they may require me to learn new skill sets. Every day can not be a perfectly productive day.
At least that's what I want to believe. The only thing I can do right now is to go back to the drawing board and reassess the tasks and re-order them better keeping in mind the time required for each and make sure to have buffer time to accommodate any unexpected delays.
Above is the logical response to the setback. What happens inside an overthinking mind is very different. The mind takes any failure too personally. It wants to give up at the first sign of failure. Then it becomes an additional task to get our mind free of the negative thoughts and get it ready and primed up. This leads to further loss of time and mental strength.
It's a vicious circle. The more time I waste, the more I panic and the more time I need to calm down my mind and get back to tasks. When we start accounting for the mind’s panic approach and desire to leave the task that is difficult, we realise that while making the list of tasks we also need to account for the fact if the task is really necessary or not.
It is also important to remember that we may not like doing all the tasks listed. So making accommodations for them is also necessary. We either need to find a way to delegate or if possible to remove the said task. If getting stuck on one task means that ten other tasks don't get done, then we do need to analyse the importance and options for the said task.
Every situation has logical and emotional components. Focusing on only one and ignoring the other is not a good solution. Productivity and project planning are the terms we don't usually associate with emotions. But we need to understand that an excited, inspired, motivated state makes sure the task is done on time. Whereas if we are feeling detached from the task no matter how hard we try to finish the work, it will take more time than expected. This is what happens in most of the day jobs. We are assigned tasks with deadlines by our bosses. When we are in the right mindset, it is a breeze to finish it. But if we have just had a fight with someone or something else is bothering us or even if we are hungry then nothing else matters. The task is doomed before we even start it. Quality and timeliness both will get affected.
We can not ignore the mindset while working. The right state of mind is an important resource which should not be ignored.