How to Overcome Fear, Part 5

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Welcome back!

Last time you mapped out all the steps you need to take to achieve your goal. This time we’re going to organize these steps and start creating to-do lists.

Now, you’ll notice that even though we’re talking about how to create to do lists, this lesson is about overcoming fear. And that’s because one of the best ways to overcome fear is to create a to-do list with “bite size” tasks… and then just start working through your list. In other words, fear can’t co-exist happily alongside productive action. When you take action, the fear melts away.

Creating Your To Do List

You have a big “master list” of all the steps you need to do to achieve your goal. Your next step is to break this big list down into smaller lists.

In order to do that, you need to first organize each of these steps into the order you’re going to complete them. In some cases, this is easy because the steps are chronological. That is, you can’t take one specific step until you’ve completed a previous step. For example, you can’t install a WordPress blog on a site until you’ve purchased a domain name and webhosting.

At other times there will be steps that you can complete in any order (without any noticeable impact on the final results). In that case, you may consider putting a priority on your least-favorite task. That way you get it out of the way quickly so that you can focus on the tasks you do enjoy.

Once you’ve put the steps in the order you’d like to complete them, the next thing you need to do is estimate approximately how long each step will take. If you’ve never done some of these steps before, you may not have any idea. In that case, ask someone who knows. Then be conservative in your time estimates (e.g., schedule in slightly more time than you think it will take).

For example, if you think a particular task will take 60 minutes, then add in a little “cushion” such as giving yourself 75 or even 90 minutes. Your goal is to complete the task on the low end (60 minutes), but you do have a cushion in case there’s a bigger learning curve than you expected.

Your next step is to now create weekly to-do lists. Since you’ve estimated how long it will take to complete each task, it’s just a matter of creating separate lists that include a week’s worth of steps. For example, if you expect that your project is going to take about two months to create, then you’ll have eight lists, one for each week.

TIP: These don’t have to be “bite size” steps. For your weekly to-do lists, writing out some of your major steps will be just fine. For example, one week your list might include, “outline the book” and “research chapter 1.”

Your next step is to make daily to-do lists. Now, you don’t want to do this too far ahead, as you may move more quickly or slowly on a project than you anticipated. Sometimes you may realize that you’ve missed a step so you have to add it in. As such, you can make daily to-do lists for one week at a time. For example, every Sunday night you can create your daily to-do lists for the week.

TIP: Please note that your daily to-do lists are where you should list the simple bite-size tasks. You’ll feel accomplished – which will further boost motivation – when you’re able to cross off multiple items on your list each day.

Finally, your last step is to just take action. If you feel hesitant, just force yourself to take the smallest step on your to do list. Because once you take one step (and cross it off your list), it’s easy to take a second… and a third. And soon you’ll have your entire list complete for the day.

Remember, taking action chases away fear!

That’s it for this time. Next time we’ll delve deeper into this topic of what to do if you feel yourself stalling!

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