When I have a big, daunting task ahead of me – something I keep pushing down to the bottom of my list, it starts becoming big and abstract in my mind.
I continue putting it off, day after day, week after week, sometimes even month after month. The idea of starting seems too painful at that point.
Until I decide to try a new approach.
In an effort to trick my mind into beginning, I don’t begin at all. I blow past all the groundwork and details and research, and pretend I’m halfway through whatever I need to do. Instead of doing it linearly, I skip ahead and work my way backward. I “start” in the middle.
So say I need to write an article, and I’ve been putting it off for weeks. The idea of developing an idea and expressing it sounds so difficult I'm tired just thinking about it. Then I think, what if I just start with the headlines? I write down a few subheads that break down a point I haven’t even made yet. I add one sentence beneath them to clarify my point. And suddenly, I find myself writing.
It’s just a few scattered lines stating half-thoughts but at least it’s not a blank page. Having SOMETHING down relieves my mind just enough to continue. So I jump back up and add an introduction. I skip back down and write a few more paragraphs near the end. I start filling in the middle. I may end up in a completely different place than I started. But surprisingly enough, I find I have what almost looks like an article.
You can apply the same to a design project.
Or that email you’ve been putting off.
Or that job application you’ve meaning to submit.
Or the business you’ve been meaning to start.
Or the strained relationship you’ve been wanting to mend.
When we treat “the beginning” as something sacred, we give it more power than it deserves. The beginning can start in the middle, or even at the end.