The last year has been frustrating; there is absolutely no denying it.

Collective mental health (national and global) for many of us is at what may very well be an all-time low. Mental health and wellness are critical to being able to move forward in any endeavor, however after everything that the pandemic put us through (and with possibly more on the way), mental health awareness is critical now more than ever.

Shot of a young businessman looking bored while working at his desk during late night at work

Tired, overworked, not enough work, unmotivated, will it even matter?, too much on my plate, overwhelmed, depressed, anxious…. Do any of these seem familiar to you personally? Each is critical and needs to be addressed if you’re experiencing it.  Future topics (either here or one of my other media feeds) will cover pieces of each of them more explicitly. However, one element of frustration for many of us is simply the feeling that we just can’t get started.  I know that has been true for me – heck, right now it’s my #1 nemesis.  Moreover – what I’m about to say next may sound even more frustrating! Stick with me to the end though, and I’ll give you some great tips on how to get past this feeling of paralysis.

So, get this… “there is never a better time to start than right now”!  There, I said it!  That’s the part that sounds so frustrating.  I know it does, it sounds frustrating to me every time that anyone ever says it! It was an expression my dad loved.  Oh, and guess what?  It will always sound frustrating!  Unless…

IF that phrase triggers or cues up a pre-planned response – the frustration that normally goes with it loses most if not all of its sting. In all honesty and truth, if you’re thinking that you really need to do a thing… then now, or as close to now as you can manage, is the very best time to make it happen.

No one ever gave me a recipe for jumping in and getting started.  Some people are just wired in a way that requires no help, recipe, or guidance, but for some people, a recipe or a plan or an outline of how to get going is a tremendous help.  So here are my recommendations:


  • Identify the MAIN OBSTACLE to starting The THING (Name it if that helps – call it “George”!)
    • Do you want to do the thing? If NO, why? What’s causing you NOT to want to start?
      • Worried about the about the outcome
        • List the good things that happen when you succeed
        • Put pictures or descriptions of your vision where you can see
        • Remind yourself why you originally wanted/needed to do this
      • The process is daunting or frightening
        • Find a supporting group of people to help encourage you
        • Get advice from knowledgeable people on how to proceed
      • Concerned that it isn’t valuable or worthwhile
        • Make a Pro vs. Con list
        • Ask others who will be impacted what it would mean to them
      • Afraid that the necessary skill or competence is missing
        • Study and learn all you can
        • Again – ask for help or mentoring from knowledgeable people
        • Remind yourself that most of us have doubts about our abilities
        • Tell yourself “I am the right person for this!” BELIEVE in yourself!
    • Is something else getting in the way of you starting The THING?
      • Something you control – make a plan to eliminate or work around the obstacle
      • Something out of your control – ask for help
    • If The THING is huge and overwhelming – consider giving it a bit of structure
      • Break it up into smaller pieces – manageable chunks
      • Define a specific start and finish for each chunk
  • If at all possible, go ahead and start The THING – whether you have an hour or only 5 minutes
    • Set a timer on your phone
    • Get started and work until the timer goes off
    • Schedule future times & now you have a plan for when you can work on The THING
  • If you don’t have the luxury of starting The THING right now, schedule it. Use a notebook calendar, post-it on the fridge, Google or Apple calendar … put a start date where you can see it.
  • If The THING is something that you can productively work on for short periods,
    • Make it a practice to work on it any time you have a few minutes of free time
    • Work on it during breaks
    • Work on it for a short period of time before you go to bed at night
  • Make a weekly schedule template
    • Include scheduled times for working on The THING
    • A weekly/daily schedule is a great productivity tool. Use one and include The THING
  • Take credit for anything and everything that you do that moves The THING forward
    • List the tasks goals and deadlines
    • Check off EVERY SINGLE one you get done
    • Celebrate milestones – if you complete a chunk of The THING
      • Get a gourmet coffee (or something similar)
      • Eat out for lunch
      • Let yourself download a new song or three…
      • Bump up the reward for bigger milestones – dinner or a movie…

I could go into a lot more detail about getting your productivity up, and I probably will, but that’s a different topic for another time.  For now, use the steps above to get past that initial immobility/paralysis that is keeping you from making forward progress on what’s important to you!