It starts with ambition, and possibly talent. You come up with this really good idea in response to a brief you were given, you’re sure you can finish it within the allocated time, you’re all fired up and ready to go kick ass!
Then you sit down to work and your mind goes completely blank.
Overwhelm is a wonderful thing
In fact, the larger and scarier the end product the better chance you have of creating something truly amazing. Or doing the whole crash, burn, stress, scrape thing. The beginning of a project around the time the actual work starts is always the scariest for me; once I’m working I can keep going without much trouble and create something on time.
The Unspoken Choice
When it’s time to work you can decide to stand by your plans, or chicken out and minimize them.
Phrased like that most people are going to say ‘of course we’ll go for the former!’. I believe you. Now lets move on and look at how we can actually do that without accidentally reverting to the other path.
Speaking as a Professional Minimizer…
The fear there is based around whether you can produce to specifications before deadline. It’s not whether you can do it period, it’s the time element that makes it harder. Because I absolutely hate being undermined by ‘silly fears’ like that, I have a few coping mechanisms:
Break the product down – Decide what you absolutely have to create, what would add value, and what would make it look prettier.
Focus on the Necessities – Write down what you need to do that day to get started.
Pick on the Smallest thing – Finish it as quickly as you can, and score it off your list.
Breathe, then do the next thing – The breathing is important. Enjoy that you have one thing done, then launch into the next.
The Feel-Good Factor
Some people like to use the ‘Tackle the biggest part for a specified amount of time’ trick instead of the knocking out the smallest task. That may work better for you; after some trial and error it doesn’t help me much unless I’ve already completed one task.
Either way, the point is to do something that can quickly give you a sense of accomplishment. Once you have something it’s no longer ‘Oh god, how do I begin?!’ it’s ‘Ok, what’s next?’.
How do you get around it?