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20 Mar

Deal with one sourdough a day

Datum: 2014-03-20 10:22

Do you have more than one sour­dough? That is, more than one thing which you keep think­ing that you will do (or which you should have done by now), but which you sim­ply can­not seem to get start­ed on. The term is derived from a Swedish expres­sion con­cern­ing the tasks and projects which are par­tic­u­lar­ly dif­fi­cult to get going with.

Sour­doughs have a ten­den­cy to become a true bur­den, heavy and cum­ber­some. Every time we come to think of one, we feel slight­ly depressed. We are tor­ment­ed by our bad conscience.

A jour­ney of a thou­sand miles starts with a sin­gle step
The method to get­ting rid of a sour­dough that has always worked for me thus far, and those I help in my work, is to divide it into real­ly small steps. 

It does not imply that we have to divide what­ev­er we need to do into all the small steps that we can think of before we get start­ed, but rather that we think of the first, small­est next step we could take to at least put our­selves in motion.

But if you have sev­er­al, or even many, sour­doughs then per­haps even the thought of doing this might feel over­whelm­ing. Why? Well, because there is not just one step we need to define, there are sev­er­al first steps! Regard­less what we man­age to do, we will feel that there are still things which we should have done long ago.

One step at a time is the way to go
Be nice to your­self. Do not aim too high and do not give your­self a hard time about not mak­ing enough progress. Take into con­sid­er­a­tion that you after all are deal­ing with a per­son who is slight­ly depressed at the moment by the prospect of deal­ing with all the sourdoughs.

Hence, get start­ed on one unat­tend­ed a day. No more.

If you take on too much at once, the process of decreas­ing the num­ber of sour­doughs will be obstruct­ed and post­poned. You should there­fore feel pleased with your­self every day you man­age to deal with at least one lit­tle aspect or piece of a sourdough.

Do this

  1. Look through your to-do-list and high­light the tasks which now feel more like sour­doughs than ordi­nary tasks. If I should post­pone and pro­cras­ti­nate a task for longer than I orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed, my dig­i­tal to-do-list-tool Things will tag it with a Sourdough”-label, and hence mak­ing it easy for me to dis­tin­guish when a task has gone from being a task to becom­ing a sourdough.

  2. Now make the task of choos­ing one sour­dough from the list to work on today part of your morn­ing-rou­tine. So, every morn­ing you will now decide which sour­dough you will work on today and then define the first, small step you could take towards mak­ing progress.

  3. Do this first step dur­ing the day.

  4. When you have com­plet­ed the step (which you most like­ly for­mu­lat­ed as a to-do-task), enjoy your accomplishment.
    • Cel­e­brate your progress somehow.
    • Give your­self a pat on the back.
    • Do your par­tic­u­lar vic­to­ry sign, ges­ture or move.
    • Tell a col­league about how good you feel.
    • Get your­self an extra cup of coffee.
    • Take anoth­er cookie.

  5. If you feel like it, take anoth­er step in pro­cess­ing the same sour­dough. Per­haps you will even get rid of it entire­ly while you are at it. I gave a lec­ture to a group of peo­ple where each and every one got to choose one of their sour­doughs and define the first step they would take. When we all returned after a short cof­fee-break one of the par­tic­i­pants exclaimed I took care of the whole thing! I think I’m going to do some­thing else right now while I’m at it.”

    If you only choose to do one thing, no mat­ter how small it is, this is more than enough. Any progress is progress. As long as you were not doing any­thing, noth­ing was hap­pen­ing to make the sour­dough go away and the task to be completed.

  6. When you have done what­ev­er you choose to do to get rid of this sour­dough today, leave it at that. Doing so, you will avoid let­ting the whole task in its entire­ty to over­whelm you and make you stag­nate again. Instead you will have time and ener­gy for all the oth­er tasks you need to do today.

  7. Tomor­row you will choose anoth­er sour­dough and oth­er step to take. As long as you have sour­doughs that need to be processed, con­tin­ue choos­ing one a day to work on.

No more clouds of wor­ry on your horizon
If you work with one, and only one, sour­dough a day, you will in a calm and method­i­cal man­ner process projects and tasks that have been both­er­ing you for a long time. You will have many oppor­tu­ni­ties to cel­e­brate that you are pro­gress­ing and will with rel­a­tive­ly small effort soon see that you are much more up to date” with your work that you were before. You will no longer feel the weight of pro­cras­ti­nat­ed tasks upon your shoulders.

What is your method?
How do you get rid of sour­doughs in the best and eas­i­est way pos­si­ble? feel more than free to share your thoughts and expe­ri­ences in a com­ment below.