Beginning with the Ending Gets You Unstuck and Moving

Three Stages infographic

Beginnings and endings…

“In my end is my beginning.”

T.S. Eliot famously wrote that in his “Four Quartets.” It’s a line that I have always found very hopeful. And it can be especially helpful to call it to mind if you’re procrastinating about making a beginning of any sort.

When Beginning is Hard

Indeed, the most challenging step in moving toward a goal is often the first one.

Whether you’re initiating a brand new exercise regimen, starting to write a book, creating a business plan, or working on your taxes, that first step can be difficult.

And if starting has you stymied, you’re stuck; and that’s not a good feeling. Confidence flags and self-criticism flares. This can very easily turn into a vicious cycle.

Small Steps Help

In the past, I’ve written here about starting with small steps by chunking your tasks down into bite-sized pieces.  This is one of the most powerful time tools you can adopt. And once you start using it, I think you’ll be amazed, not only at how small those bites can get but also at what a difference they make.

But not all forward movement is the same. In fact, there’s an art to finding the balance between discipline/productivity/focus and exploration/creativity/flexibility.

When do you let go of a planned activity to pursue a creative spark?  When do you choose to jot down a note, and pursue an idea later?  These time choices are important.  We make them constantly, and quite often subconsciously.

Making those transitions as smooth and efficient as possible is crucial in shaping our days.

Ending and Starting

So, in “Four Quartets” T.S. Eliot also wrote: “What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”

This is a very useful concept when thinking about time and time management. That’s because beginnings and endings, starting places and stopping points, all mark time boundaries.  They are places of picking up and letting go, and neither exists without the other.

Breaking it down to its most basic component, you could think of these processes as like in-breaths and out-breaths.

Starting with an Ending

So, thinking about the end of a project as the starting point of another helps keep things moving for you.

You aren’t doing something entirely new; you are picking up where you left off. There’s a rhythm, and it continues from ending to beginning to ending, and so forth. Inhalation follows exhalation. Picking up follows letting go.

Go ahead and do it…

And to put this into practice, what I suggest is that, when you complete a project you do 3 things:

  • Validate your accomplishment.  This is vital and energizing. Validation helps you sustain your energy and engagement, and you deserve it.
  • Scan and prioritize your to-do list. Once you’ve celebrated your accomplishment, the next step is to consider what’s next. (Don’t take this step if you’ve skipped the first one. If you do, you’ll eventually start feeling depleted and victimized.)
  • Create a starting place for your next project.  Do just enough to give yourself a place to begin on your next big goal.  Don’t go too far with this, because you’ve just finished something big and may not have the energy or focus to really start working. But doing enough to know where to pick up the thread will save you time and energy when you’re ready to dive in.

What do you do when you finish a big project?

How do you keep your momentum going and find the balance you need in your working day?

And here’s more help for you…

If procrastination holds you back, you’re certainly not alone. Millions of people struggle with this energy draining time thief. Procrastination’s costs include lost productivity, lost income, lost opportunities, frazzled nerves and damaged relationships.

My accessible and immediately actionable E-Guide Book titled I Don’t Know Where to Start!” How to Stop Stalling, Get Clear, and Turn Procrastination into Productivity offers you a clear path to get to the roots of your procrastination and start doing rather than delaying — today.

“I Don’t Know Where to Start!” unmasks this time thief with exercises to help you identify your own unique brand of procrastination. And it provides insights to help you successfully address what you discover.

That’s the good news! You really can make conscious choices about your time and how to use it. And you really can change old habits and patterns. Using the tools and skills you’ll learn in “I Don’t Know Where to Start” you’ll get started and keep going!

To learn more about this powerful E-Guide Book and its accompanying bonuses, just click this link.

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