When I was younger, I used to confuse anxiety with laziness. I would often sit in my office unable to start a task and would procrastinate as much as I could. There was no real explanation for it as I knew that I actually loved working, building, and being creative. It was not until much later that I was able to decipher that what seemed as laziness from the distance (or even up-close) was actually just anxiety.
I was anxious about starting a task that I might not be familiar with, and I was afraid of failing. If I knew what the task entailed, I was afraid that I would not perform it to meet my own expectations. It took a long time to understand the difference between anxiety and laziness, but the deeper I analyzed the cause, the more apparent the differences became.
In order to help fight my anxiety, I decided to break down the tasks into tiny parts in order to trick my brain into feeling at ease with the job at hand. It worked – I was able to start tackling complicated projects simply by doing tiny parts of the job required and moving along with this strategy. Sure enough, small parts accumulated to become large accomplishments, and my anxiety declined as the time went on.
I still have anxiety when it comes to undertaking large unfamiliar tasks. However, these days I know how to “oversimplify” the most complicated projects and turn them into “bite-sized” assignments.
Below, I am including my top tips on how to break down tasks in order to achieve anything. If you wish to read more about my work, please check out my website, Amra and Elma Influencer Marketing Agency and Social Media Agency, or my Instagram.
- Map out the project: Be sure to draw out a map of the entire project from beginning to the end. The map should look like an outline, and it should include step 1 to the final step and tasks required under each step. Seeing the map will immediately provide some anxiety relief because we will suddenly have a “plan of attack.” This map will also turn the project from being viewed by our brain as a problem into being received as a solution.
- Break the project into small tasks: once we have the project broken down into small steps, we can take the liberty of breaking it down into even smaller parts. The smaller the part the less anxiety we will feel. My trick is to also use a pen to cross off the tasks accomplished. Once I do this, my confidence grows and I am more likely to tackle larger parts of the project. The idea here is that we keep moving without even noticing how much we are actually achieving.
- Identify the easiest parts and tackle them first: If the project seems daunting even after breaking it down into smaller steps, take the liberty to go through different steps and tackle those parts of the project that you can accomplish fastest. In other words, pick and choose, and if the project allows it jump from one step to another unless there are pre-requisites to the tasks.
It is crucial that we re-enforce our brain with success and completing any tasks well no matter how trivial will put us on a path towards action. It will enable us to build confidence, reduce anxiety (i.e. “laziness”), and solve the most complicated tasks. As we build momentum by succeeding in one project, we will be more likely to tackle other challenges and succeed in solving those problems.