Technical stuff brings me to a screeching halt. I see it as a big, bad barrier, a definite stopping place and nothing happens except that I have this vision of TECHNICAL in my mind. I recently found a solution that’s actually very easy.
The 20-minute lesson
I have two programs I want to learn – Scrivener and ScreenFlow. As I really, really wanted to learn both of them, I knew I had to find a way to break through my resistance.
I decided to spend just 20 minutes looking at a tutorial. I particularly resonate to video tutorials. Within about 10 minutes, I had the basics down. I listened to more advanced tutorials because I was going to import a book and I wanted to make certain I wasn’t missing any important steps.
Sit with what you learn
Don’t do anything with what you just learned. Don’t try to apply it. Simply absorb it organically. Maybe jot down some steps you’d like to take – like I learned I needed to download or locate specific programs to view how my books looked in the different platforms. No action. Just a few notes.
The next day spend another 20 minutes
You may want to review the tutorial you took and practice it. “Own” three or four steps and if your 20 minutes are up, feel free to let it go until next time. Acknowledge to yourself what you now know that you didn’t know 20 minutes earlier. If you get intrigued, go for another 20 minutes.
You are organically chunking down your learning process
Whey you take small steps, you master them, add to your foundational knowledge and gain confidence. I may not know more than how to import a file, but I do know that and I didn’t know it yesterday. See how this goes? One small step at a time.
There’s no hurry. No time limit. But there’s a need for consistency. Choose 20 minutes every day to master a new step, or deepen your skill by focusing on advanced steps on a familiar one.
Practice until you own it
I have ideas for several books that incorporate some of the ideas I’ve already written articles on. I set up files and brought the appropriate posts into Scrivener. Then I rearranged them into a book outline. That taught me which template to choose, how to import files and how to set up a template for the front and end matter. It also put me one step closer to creating a new book. And it showed me many other ways I can apply those two simple steps. A few steps mastered laid a strong foundation for the next steps.
Notice how you improve
“Oh yes, I remember that,” will be a common thought once you make the habit of learning a little bit every day. You build on what you know and each day you know a bit more. Notice how rapidly you learn and how much you know even after a short period of time.
Feel free to go over the 20 minutes
Twenty is an arbitrary number. You certainly can work longer. But don’t overdo it. Stop and step away. Give your mind time to absorb what it learned. Give yourself time to make some of the steps become second nature. Consistent practice is the key, whatever level you’re on.
Ditch the deadline
Years ago, I realized that in most cases I’m the one who made up the deadlines. That means I’m also the one that could undo them. Ditching a deadline relieves all sorts of stress, and once that’s gone, you’ll be surprised how rapidly things come together.
Take other 20-minute steps
I can think of other 20-minute applications – walk 20 minutes, eat mindfully for 20 minutes, do yoga stretches for 20 minutes. In 20 minutes you can write several e-mails and a couple of thank-you notes. In 20 minutes you can organize your desk. I can even write the first draft of an article in 20 minutes.
What other small steps can you take in 20-minute chunks?
I have a digital kitchen timer sitting on my desk. I use it to place boundaries on several things – how long I sit, setting it to give me time to get a cup of tea before watching “The View,” even resting my eyes by looking out the window. A timer is useful to remind you to take breaks from total concentration.
You can immerse yourself and still chunk it down
When I’m writing, I don’t want to be interrupted. But even if I use the timer to remind me to stand up, stretch, relax some muscles and look out the window before resetting the timer, I can do that without breaking my concentration.
You define the chunks – what you’re timing and how long the chunks are to last. Just watch out for the “five-minutes-more” syndrome when it comes to putting off taking a break. Honor the end of a time period long enough to de-stress, lessen you concentration and continue on refreshed.
Get a feel for what you want do next
It’s OK to switch tasks. When you come to the end of a 20-minute session, check in with yourself to see what you really want to do – continue on, or change direction.
I edit posts in batches. They come back from proofing in batches. I put them in Rainmaker in batches.
But I may not be in the mood to do the final formatting and SEO work for a whole bunch of posts. So I can set my timer for 20 minutes and complete however many posts that allows me to do. And if I don’t feel like doing any more on that project, I have a fresh new 20 minutes to fill with something else.
You can work in longer chunks
Keep an eye on the tension you hold in your body. Learn to set regular times to consciously release your focus and the unconscious tension in your body. Choose whatever length of time works for you but don’t make it too long between mental breaks.
The biggest win I’ve had using 20-minute chunks is to overcome my resistance to learning something technical. Twenty minutes is not a magical number – it could be 10 – or 30. The point is to spend some designated time learning what you need to know that will take you to the next level.
To Sing a Deeper Song consider:
Is it Selfish To Take Care Of Yourself First?
Are You Afraid to Try?
How to Plan in Unfolding Cycles
The No Plan Plan
Unfolding an the Wu Wei of Not-Forcing
Unfolding an the Wu Wei of Not-Obstructing
Unfolding and the Wu Wei of Not-Interfering
What Do You Do in a Losing Situation?
Unfolding and the Big Bouder
20 – Why Are You in Service?
21 – How to Share a Piece of Your Soul