my doctoral advisor gave me some of the best advice I've ever received about how to be productive. in facing what seems like a monumental task - like writing a dissertation - where it's impossible to know where or how to start, much less how to design a path forward, there's one way to get going: do something.
his advice was: do an hour of something related to the project/task every single day.
if something is important to you, you can find an hour each day, whatever else you have to do to make money, etc. at first, it might be just an hour of getting organized, brainstorming, creating physical files or files on your computer. then he said something like:
when you get to a place where you have 8 hours, you'll know what to do with them.
and it worked. it's the law of increments. that's how you write a dissertation over two years. bit by bit, day by day. it's how we get in shape, it's how we get out of shape. it's how books are written, and how we get good at anything. it's how we raise children, and generally how we get rich or go broke.
another time, I found myself in a sticky situation, and I pulled myself out of panic by realizing,
"I got here by making a series of decisions, and I'll get out by making a series of decisions."
reminds me of a quote from an article that just crossed my path: "change enough of the little pictures and you'll find you've changed the big picture."