Have you heard the expression, “What you resist persists”? I find it useful to think of when I get stuck on a project. The meaning psychologically is that if you resist acknowledging and handling a problem, it tends to stick around or even get worse. Same with work and home projects; procrastination usually makes the project more complicated and stressful than it needs to be.

When you find yourself resistant to working on a project, it’s often because the very next action needed to be taken to move the project toward completion has not been specifically identified. Training on how to uncover what the next action should be was one of the most valuable tools I learned when I did trainings with David Allen and members of his team. It is one of the key factors in the success of Allen’s “Getting Things Done” (GTD) methodology for productivity.

A lot of times the next action to move a project forward is to make a phone call. But is that really the most specific and immediate next action? If you feel resistance toward taking that action, it may not be. You may need to make another call first to get necessary information including the phone number you need. You may need to write out and practice what you are going to say to the person on the phone, for example, if it is a delicate business or relationship issue. You may need to gather pertinent papers before you sit down to discuss something, like a major purchase or a legal matter.