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Use a Project Scan to Fight The Darkness

I took a snowy walk to the library to pick up some holds when The Darkness descended right around Turtle Park.

"The Darkness" is what I call the sense of overwhelm and hopelessness that comes from time to time. Everything is impossible and, even if it were possible, is futile anyway.

The Darkness usually hits me when I have too many projects on the go and no clear path forward on any of them. It used to knock me down for a day or more, but lately I can kick it out in an hour or two.

My secret (taught to me by Cindy of course) is to do a Project Scan. It goes like this:

  1. Recognize that I am in a Dark Funk

  2. Go through each current project one at a time and ask myself:

    • Is this project really getting me toward my main goal?
    • If not, can I shelve it for a while?
    • If it is getting me toward my goal, is the project truly hopeless? What's one thing I can do to make some progress and move toward my main goal?
  3. Which project should be my priority this week?

  4. Check in time. How's the Funk now? Usually, this is all it takes to get me feeling myself again.

  5. If it's especially bad this time and I still want to curl into a ball with a bag of chocolate chips, I seek out a buddy to talk to. Often the simple act of scheduling a Zoom with Vince or Rebecca is enough to beat back the Darkness.

If, like me, you have several passions at once, a Project Scan will help remind you that a combination of projects keeps you whole. But even if you only have one big project, scanning through it will help you stay in the Light. Big projects have lots of pieces that can still gang up and overwhel you.

For the Project Scan to work, however, you really need to have a main goal and a buddy or two to talk to. I'll dig into both in more detail over the next few posts.

How do you deal with the Darkness? Have you found a trick to stop it before it settles in the first place? Let’s talk it over in the comments.