I’ll admit, sometimes I tend to get easily overwhelmed. Thinking of adding an idea I’ve wanted to execute for a while to my never ending ‘To Do’ list definitely triggers anxious feelings. But after my interview with Puno Dostres I was re-inspired to get over it and put my ideas into action. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start something before you think you’re ready. I even made up an acronym TLBL. ;)
T is for Think.
You’ve probably been doing this for a while. You’ve probably had an idea in your head that’s been sitting there for a long time just waiting to be chosen, but you haven’t had the time or the resources to do it. Maybe you want to learn a new skill, start a new project or need to create more content for your brand or portfolio. Maybe you have multiple ideas and you don’t know which one to start first.
Think about it and choose ONE THING. Just select one idea that you’re really excited about and forget the rest (for now).
- EXAMPLE -
My guest in Episode 24, Puno Dostres (creator of Map, People Map and ilovecreatives) had been thinking about video for a while. She really wanted to get into this medium and just experiment with it, but she didn’t quite know how. So, after a trip to San Francisco and seeing people video-ing all over the place she decided to start a vlog. No fancy production, basic editing, she even just used her iphone for the first video I think. So it was really simple, even though it had seemed complicated to her before she started. All she had to do was chose one medium, one idea and go for it.
L is for Limit.
Starting something new can be really overwhelming. I think a huge thing that prevents people from doing it is time. More specifically, not having enough time. We’re all so busy with work, family, friends, whatever else we’re doing, how could we possibly have time to start something new? Well, one strategy to make this way more manageable is to limit your idea.
You don't have to think of an idea, choose a medium, go for it and then do it forever. No one is going to think you’re a flake or give up too easily if you decide to limit yourself, if you set a timeline. Challenge yourself to work on this project or learn this skill every single day for 30 days. Or maybe you want to start painting again, making pottery or writing songs and you produce one piece every month for an entire year. Pick a timeline, make it up – it could be a summer project or an intense one week stint. Do whatever works for you and your idea.
- EXAMPLE -
Puno chose to do her vlogs every single day for 30 days. During this time she was traveling, super busy with work, teaching Instagram classes, and lots more. She barely had time to edit not to mention film, but because she gave herself this challenge of doing it every single day for 30 days and there was an end in sight, it motivated her to push through and keep going. If there’s no timeline, if you just have a project you decided to start but have no deadline or challenge, it’s much much easier to say…”oh I’ll just do it tomorrow, or next week.” Don’t fall into that trap, pick a timeline that works for you, ease into it and hold yourself accountable.
“There’s a lot to say for persistence, repetition and consistency. If you just keep doing something every day you will learn from it, no matter what.”
– Puno Dostres
B is for Build.
Once you’ve got your project up and running now you can iterate and build on it. Don’t like something you did in the beginning? Change it. Didn’t have the right equipment when you started? Maybe now is the time to invest. Want to add something to it? Go for it! This is your project, your idea, no one else’s so you can make it whatever you want. I started Be Real as a podcast but now I added this blog! Grow, change, iterate and build to your heart’s desire!
- EXAMPLE -
Puno started her vlog as a “follow me around and see what I do every day” sort of thing. BUT after a few episodes she added a segment called “I’m learning” where she talked about a few life/design hacks she’s learned throughout her career. So built on her idea to make it one part vlog, one part tutorial. And it’s awesome because I watch it, have a laugh, get insight into her every day life but I also learn. Brilliant.
L is for Listen.
No L is not “for the way you look at me,” It’s for Listen. More specifically listen to feedback. While you’re working on your project or once you’ve completed your week, 30 days, year or whatever your timeline was, talk to people about it. If it was something you posted online while you were working on it reach out to your friends who liked or commented on it and ask them what they thought. What did they like and not like, how could you make it better? Even if you decide not to continue the project now that you’re timeline is up, this is a really important step.
Why? Because you’ll truly learn from an experience if you take the time to reflect on it. This works even better if you get reflections from other perspectives besides your own. Take what you’ve learned and move on, or take what you’ve learned and keep going!
- EXAMPLE -
From what I can tell, after her 30 days were up Puno had mixed feelings. It was intense to vlog every single day and edit, but she decided to keep going. Why? Because reflecting on her experience and hearing feedback from friends about how much they loved watching her videos and how much it made them laugh, made her realize that she really does enjoy vlogging. So she decided to keep doing it until she’s over it. Sounds like a good plan to me.
So, if you’ve been wanting to start something new and have had an idea in the back of your head for a while now don’t think it has to be a huge deal that you have to commit everything to. Break it down into these four steps and you will feel way less overwhelmed and way more motivated. To recap, TLBL:
Think – pick one idea.
Limit – create a timeline.
Build – change, add and iterate as you go.
Listen – reflect and pay attention to feedback from others.
You got this, and if you decide to implement this in your own life I’d love to hear how it goes! Comment below or shoot me an email. :)