Starting Is The Hardest Part

I produce a lot of content. Ask Leo! articles, books, and videos, of course, as well as The Ask Leo! Tip of the Day, but I also facilitate HeroicStories, curate Not All News is Bad, and manage social media posts for Ask Leo! on Instagram. I also have no fewer than three WordPress blog migrations in progress for friends and organizations I support, as well as my own random experiments (like tweaking my video studio, or playing with a ChromeBook “just because”).

Then there are the Corgi web sites and activities I either support, own, or administer, my ongoing stress relief with my Night Elf Druid in World of Warcraft (don’t judge), the occasional “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” animal-related call out, and radio-related emergency preparedness and volunteer support.

I get tired just writing all that. (And, heck, I probably overlooked something.)

And yet, what keeps nagging at me is simply this: I could be so much more productive, if I would just start.

This post, for example, is the first in about two or three weeks. The first of what started out as a daily writing exercise.

Now, perhaps daily might have been a bit of an over-reach – my goal is to write daily, but as you saw from my list above there’s plenty of opportunity for that. While I enjoy writing about other things – particularly if I can keep the theme of gratitude in the back of my mind – perhaps adding a daily personal blog into the mix didn’t need to happen every day. Sometimes it’s simply introspection – as this post is – sometimes it’s observational, sometimes it’s call to action, but it’s almost always something outside the scope of my other writing duties.

So I slacked off. Writing every day worked … and then it stopped. It got more intermittent.

And it caused me to realize the hardest part of all wasn’t writing, it was starting.

Setting aside the distractions of the day, picking up virtual pen (aka keyboard) and paper (aka WordPress) and just starting to put thoughts to words was, by far, the hardest thing of all.

And it’s The Thing that prevents me from being even more productive than I already am.

Once I get started … well, here I am closing in on 400 words later without really too much effort, at least not compared with the effort it took to get started. (Honestly after getting started it wasn’t the writing that’s the most work, it was adding links for all those items in the first few paragraphs. 🙂 )

Apparently I’m not alone.

Getting started is a common issue that comes cloaked in various guises such as procrastination, busy work, fear of failure, and more. (I suspect that busy work might be my nemesis.) Lifehacker had a good summary: Mastering the Art of “Just Start”.

Throw in the allure of social media and email and there’s a recipe for spending an entire day busy busy busy … and getting nothing done.

They say that the first step to addressing a problem is to admit you have a problem. I’m hoping it’s that awareness that will help me get better focused and more productive.

As for today: let’s just say there’s a project or two I’ve been putting off that I need to … you know ….