Show Notes

Episode 49: Getting Started

Perfectionism can be paralyzing. This week, Janine and Shannon discuss why it can be hard to get started, along with some techniques and strategies for making it easier.

Discussion topics include:

  • Using a timer to help you get started on a task
  • Janine’s microwave timer method of getting stuff done
  • Limiting the number of resources you explore before starting something
  • Mark Forster’s trick for fooling the reactive brain to get started
  • How getting started is easier if you don’t think you have to finish
  • Shannon’s trick for making your project feel less overwhelming: Shrinking your image of it so small you can hold it in your hand
  • Learning a new language by studying only five minutes a day
  • The difference between not wanting to get started and procrastination
  • Shannon’s quiz to help you identify your personal barriers to getting started
  • How when the payoff is far away (as in a tax refund) it can be hard to get started
  • The fact that negative experiences are more lasting than positive ones
  • The key to getting started: Understanding what matters to you + breaking the task into small steps + shifting your perception of the task or project so that it feels doable.


  • Shannon’s Happy Changes blog series
  • Shannon’s quiz to help you identify your barriers to getting started
  • Janine’s blog post on getting started (it talks about Mark Forster’s reactive-brain trick)

2 thoughts on “Episode 49: Getting Started”

  1. I love the thought of the “Chicken Little” brain! Now I have something that I can recognize when it is happening to me and say, “Calm down, Chicken Little.” Getting started has been a problem for me for years. I have had several large projects that have been looming over me, and I have not been able to get started on them because of the enormity of the task. Chicken Little starts screaming, “I can’t do it! I can’t do it!” I have been listening to your podcast for three weeks today (and am nearly to #50…yay!) and have been using what I have learned to get myself to start these projects. What I have to do to fool Chicken Little is to say to myself, “You only have to do it for 12 minutes. And then you can stop.” When my kitchen timer goes off, chances are, I keep working on whatever it is until I reach a natural stopping point. I also have used the CBS Sunday Morning show as a carrot. If I work for 12 minutes, then I get to reward myself by watching one segment of the news-magazine show. I have worked through a lot of stuff by trading off one onerous task for a pleasant reward. I am able to trick myself into getting a few hours of work done by doing this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.