As I continue to try to balance my life between a rigorous “day job” and working on my side project, I’ve constantly been finding myself struggling to knock off the things on my to-do list for Recommnd’s “Things I have to do before I launch” list.
After much introspection, I found that while I banged out certain tasks very easily, I consistently kept on putting off certain tough tasks day after day.
As I drilled in a little deeper, I really came to face the fact that I was simply scared of taking on some of those tasks.
Doing a project with a team of one is tough. In actual startups with teams, you can usually turn to your partner to talk through certain things that you get stuck on.
This does not happen when you are trying to think through problems and pain points in your head, regardless of how good of a problem solver or thinker you are.
Faced with this problem, I came up with an aide to help me think through these tough tasks.
The whole idea is to drill down into a task that I’ve been putting off in a systematic manner. Whenever I find something that I’m scared of tackling, I pull up my MacJournal and start writing a journal entry with this template:
What’re you trying to accomplish?
This is where you put a simple one-line sentence describing your intent.
What do you need to accomplish this?
Usually, I write out a list of what needs to be done. Think of these as sub-tasks. Don’t think so much about how these will be done, just focus on what actually needs to be done.
What’s easy to do?
Simple enough right? Take the stuff you need to do, and list out the things that are easy to do. Try not to regurgitate the items on your sub-tasks list, but make it more of a free flowing thought process.
What are the roadblocks?
Start reading through what you’ve written. At this point, it really should be becoming clear in your head **why you’ve been putting this task in the first place.**
But don’t stop now.
This is the section where you just start listing out all of your roadblocks, all of the things you’re scared about, all of the things you don’t know (how to do).
Again, don’t worry so much about how you’re going to solve these problems; instead, focus on the what the actual roadblocks are and list them out.
What are some possible solutions to each roadblock?
Alright, if you’ve been diligent so far, you should be feeling a lot better about this task now.
Hopefully you are already feeling excited about truly understanding this task and at this point your mind is flowing with ways to solve the roadblocks you’ve identified.
List them out, don’t worry as much about whether they can actually be executed on, but focus more on possible solutions.
You don’t want to go completely out of touch here, so I’d recommnd you list possible solutions in the order of feasibility.
This is where it should all come together. You should read over everything you’ve written, digest it, and finally come up with some real action items for yourself to tackle this task for real.
This technique has been working amazingly well for me. I’d love to hear from you if you decide to try it out.