Several years ago, Fast Company included an article by Dan & Chip Heath entitled, “Analysis of Paralysis.” The essence of the article is captured in the sentence which ended the article’s first paragraph: “Simplicity allows people to act.”
I find that when I look at my to-do list, I gravitate to the tasks which are easy to do, and you probably do as well. We are human, and we like to find easy ways to do things. When a task presents complexity and ambiguity, we procrastinate. We choose instead which presents more clarity, even if the task provides less payoff.
Perhaps the answer is to make everything simple and make everything clear. The paradox is that some work is required in order to make things easy. The work consists of thinking a project all the way through from beginning to end. The work consists of figuring out all of the steps as well as knowing when it may not be possible to know all of them. Furthermore, keeping all of the notes and documents related to that project neatly organized takes some thought.
The good news is once we have structured a system and are willing to spend a little time keeping it clear, the rest becomes easy, incredibly easy.
Imagine looking at your list and knowing in which order to tackle the items and exactly how to proceed on each one. How simple that would make your day. Simple enough, you would actually act.