Break it down – Turn big things into small things

I’ve needed to clean, stain and seal my deck for the past several months. I know that it needs to be done – the wood is old and needs to be better protected before winter. Yet, that knowledge had no impact on my actions until yesterday.

So what changed? I became highly motivated. Based on the weather forecast, I knew that yesterday might be one of my last days of the season to work on this project.

As I got started, I kept thinking, “why didn’t I clean out my sprayer a week ago?” or “why didn’t I move a piece of furniture a day off the deck?” It became clear that this large project, which I put off until the last second, was just several small projects sequenced together.

Isn’t every project like this? We focus on the enormity of the major task – in my case, staining the deck. But in reality, there are a lot of small tasks that we can be working on to build momentum.

The beauty of small tasks is that they don’t require you to be highly motivated to complete. If I had created the small task of “get out staining materials”, I would have been able to do that in three minutes and on a day when it was raining.

Do you have a project (home or work) that you keep putting off? Take five minutes to break it down into all the smaller tasks that are required. The smaller you can make the tasks the better. Start building momentum and you will find yourself getting bigger items off of your list.


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