Few things have caused me so much grief in recent times as the problem of not knowing where to begin executing a plan. Despite some experience, lots of lessons learned and much advice from many people, I still struggle at times to get myself into gear and work efficiently.
Late last year, 7 months after I relocated to Hamburg, Germany, things got tough. I had spent the first while learning the language through intensive classes and finding myself in a new country, culture and career situation. The time had arrived for me to find my center again and get back on track with my other long-term plans. Easy enough. Oder...?
I knew the overall direction I wanted to take and had already gone through the process of narrowing my scope in order to work with more clarity. I have enough discipline and persistence to work focused and avoid distractions in following my plans and meeting goals. At the time it seemed that anything I did was justifiable and indeed constructive. Yet I was feeling scattered and stretched too thin. It still happens sometimes.
There's a saying in Spanish, "El que mucho abarca, poco aprieta." This is equivalent to "biting off more than one can chew." That thought certainly applies in these situations and it filled my head during those days. Well, while I mention sayings I must share what an old boss used to say: "When the going gets tough, the tough go to lunch!" Only, in this case, I was close to not even being able to afford lunch.
In light of the tight situation I took desperate but constructive measures. Following a friend's advice, I removed myself from the familiar space and found a quiet spot. I made a list of my most immediate goals. As few as possible. As specific as possible. Then another list with the real possibilities at hand. This one included contacts, information resources, tools and reachable places. Those actions quickly filled me with a sense of accomplishment. Such micro-successes build momentum and end the process of spinning wheels in the mud.
The image above serves, in my own mind, as a visual reminder of "using what's at hand." That day, I was in a situation that forced me to think that way. Indeed, one has many opportunities to implement this concept every day. For us photographers, any assignment or shoot is a prime time to practice.
Open those eyes!