You walk into your office and look around.  Wow, there’s a lot to do.  You don’t know where to begin.  You feel an ache in your stomach.  You say to yourself “It’s hopeless”.  You’re disgusted with yourself and the situation.  You walk out of the office sometime later feeling worse than ever.

There’s a project you’ve been meaning to do for ages now.  You have been meaning to set time aside to finally get it done.  “Not today.  Too much other things going on.  Tomorrow absolutely.”   There’s so much to do on this project.  You wonder where do you start and how will you ever get it done?  Besides, it’s probably going to take more than just a few hours anyway.   Where will you find the time?  Maybe you need to set aside a whole day to do it.  Oh well, maybe you’ll tackle it next weekend.

How you handle yourself when faced with these overwhelming situations is the key to your success and your future.

Here are four strategies that will help you create a plan for taking back your life and finally approaching those big overwhelming projects so that you can finally tackle them with confidence and ease.

1.  Give yourself a physical place to work.

The first thing you want to do is to create a space to work in.  That may mean clearing off a table, a counter, a desk or a bed.  You don’t necessarily have to put those things away just create a space so that you can focus on one thing at a time.

2.  Give yourself the mental space to work.

Eliminate distractions.  Shut off your cell phone.  Turn off email.  Send the kids and dog outside.

3.  Break the project up into steps.

Even though these types of overwhelming projects often end up as a single line on a to-do list, they generally involve more then one step.

Break the project into multiple steps and give yourself permission to focus on only one step at a time.  Instead of the overwhelming task of “organize office”, define the things that need to be done.  For instance, step one may be “handle the things on the right corner of the desk” or “gather the papers on the floor into a single pile”.

4.  Do something, anything.

Not doing anything will leave you in the same situation you’re currently in.  Often the act of doing something will help break the cycle of hopelessness and give you the push to get moving.

These four steps will help you create a plan.  The project as a whole may still look big and overwhelming and the little steps you define are doable and more importantly approachable.  As the smaller steps get done the bigger project gets done as well.