I’ve noticed over the past few years that the biggest problem I have when getting started with a new venture or just a new segment of my current project is anxiety. Regardless of whether the task in front of me is big or small, hard or easy I get this anxious feeling that delays or even keeps me from moving forward. I’m sure it’s common and I bet that almost everyone feels the same way as I do.
It happens even now as I sit down to write this post, my leg is bouncing up and down and that feeling in the pit of my stomach has returned. I wish I could explain it and figure out a solution because I do not like this feeling. For me, this is what I go through at the start of EVERY task that I have to do.
Not Knowing Where to Start
Maybe it’s my lack of an ability to make a decision, but I never seem to know where to start when doing something new. Heck, why would I know if I’ve never done the task before right? Doesn’t matter, it’s just the anxiety ball starting to roll down hill and picking up momentum.
Having to many places where I can start is just as bad as not knowing where to start. What if I start off in one direction and it’s the wrong direction or I waste time and energy only to find out I should have started with something else first. Now I start to get overwhelmed and when that happens my mind goes blank and I can’t think of anything.
Not Being Able to Focus or Concentrate
I will readily admit I’m not good at thinking on my feet in high pressure situations, my mind goes blank and I just stare off into the oblivion (just ask my language arts teacher in middle school during out class debates). No thoughts, it’s like someone closed and locked the door to my brain. I then start to get fidgety, I can’t concentrate on anything but that closed door. It’s very frustrating to say the least and takes all my energy to snap myself out of this “blank comma” and sometimes I can’t.
Not Being Able to Sit Still
You ever get that feeling, like at the end of a long lecture or after your plane lands and you are sitting at the gate? That feeling where you just need to get out of there? THAT IS THE FEELING i’m talking about. I bounce my legs up and down a million miles per hour, keep adjusting my position in my seat and I just keep trying to focus my attention long enough where I can pick a direction and just get started some where.
Thinking is Hard Work
What I have figured out after going through these antics time and time again is that the sheer act of Thinking takes A LOT of energy for me. I find it more exhausting then running a 5k race. In order for me to think, I have to calm and quiet the rest of my body, block out surrounding distractions and focus. Doing all that is HARD WORK and I don’t like to do it because it’s the opposite of the way my body seems to be wired. I’m wired to zone out and do things on my “automatic” setting.
There are people who thrive on thinking and love it, and there are people who thrive on putting their heads down and just doing the work that is in front of them. I’m the latter, I have no problems doing grunt work. It’s easy for me and gives me no stress, I even enjoy it. Thinking on the other hand is hard…hard!
The reason why I’m saying all of this to you all, is that I hope I can help someone who just can’t get started. What I have found helps me is to find Inspiration. Inspiration is always my launching point into what ever I do. To find that inspiration I just start writing down, in a list, any thought that comes to my mind. If I have no thoughts I just start Googling terms and phrases related to what I want to do. Eventually I hit on an idea, or the starting point I’m looking for and my anxiety subsides and I now have a direction. That direction is the tipping point for me and momentum begins to take over, freeing my mind to think more easily.
I do a lot of retrospective thinking regarding myself, which is good and bad I imagine. The good of it is that it helps me learn from my mistakes and come up with ways to work around my anxieties. Hopefully I don’t sound like a crazy person in this post, just being honest about who I am.
Does anyone else feel this way?
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I have always had a problem with doing a thousand things at once. Now I am concentrating on always giving my full attention to my present task or company. This helps with anxiety, concentration and quality of work.
Agreed Mark. Concentrating on one task and even breaking it down to one part of that one task really helps as well. Even better, is if you write down the steps of the task helps even more! Once I write down the steps, the entire process becomes more clear and gives me the “thoughtless direction” that I need.
Boy Scott –
I can really identify with this post. When you start feeling like this, if it’s temporary that’s one thing. But when it is all the time, you could be heading for burnout. We need to give ourselves a break and take some “guilt free” time off. We all need time to rest and get our “mojo” back..
Taking time off to recharge is always a must and I’m getting pretty good at identifying when “I’ve had enough”. What I was talking about in my post was more about over coming the initial stages of a new endeavor. The uncertainty of it, the “where do I get started and how do I get started”. That kind of anxiety can be paralyzing and can over power the excitement you may have.
On a side note, I also find that I’m least productive during this phase of a new task. The uncertainty really slows me down.
I could have written this exact same article about my own problems …. you’re having the exact same problems I always have. It sucks. Especially when whatever the project I poured blood sweat and tears into ends up crashing hard instead of flying ….