My Favorite Trick to Get Big Things Done

If I had to pick the one topic I’m always Googling on the Interwebs (besides hilarious pet videos) it would probably be:

Getting S**t Done

I’m the kind of person who, given a Big Project, will tend to do things like watch funny animal videos, check email every 5 minutes, or suddenly decide I should organize my books by color rather than START on Big Project.

I’ve had a lot of big projects in the last couple of years and one really sticks out right now: I have to write a book.

Write. A. Book.

Now I’ve written a couple of books before, but that doesn’t matter. Anytime you’re faced with something That Big, even if you’ve done it before, you’re like: I have no idea how to do this. I’m a fraud. What if everyone finds out I have no idea what the hell I’m doing?!? (she screams hysterically in her own mind because she doesn’t want to scare the dog)

You know what? I’m going to go check my sock drawer now because I’m sure there is an organizational crisis happening right under my nose. Must. Fix. Now.

Okay, so that’s one goal I have right now (I’ve actually signed a contract, so it’s more than a goal – more like a job, right?) and I finally had to sit down and just look at the thing.

The Big Huge Thing.

Think of the goals (or maybe jobs) you have hanging over you…big ones like running a marathon (bless your heart), dropping clothes sizes (same), becoming more “minimalist,” (nope) saving $$$ to buy/pay off a house or retire, or … well, you get the picture.

These are BIG GOALS that require a big commitment.

They can take time … energy … and a LOT of patience.

Which can make them seem overwhelming … which means it will likely be harder to keep your energy and motivation up. That’s what I felt when I sat down at my computer and opened a document and typed: “Introduction.”

Blink. Blink. Blink. Went the cursor. From. Hell.

Is that a movie? The cursor from hell? Maybe it should be a country song.

I spent a little time trying to figure out how to tackle The Big Huge Thing (cuz, you know, procrastinating but in a productive way) and I came up with this trick:

Break the Big Huge Thing into SMALLER MINI-GOALS … goals that you can achieve in a short period of time.

I know you’ve probably heard this before…I have, too and have pretty much ignored it, like most of us. We know it, but we don’t actually put it into practice. Why do we do this to ourselves?

When you create smaller goals, you tap into the power of momentum to push yourself forward.

Let’s say you’ve always wanted to run a marathon, but you’re not much of a runner (yet). The idea of going from the couch to running 26.2 miles seems a little wild, right?

What if you started with a mini-goal of jogging for just 5 or 10 minutes without stopping?

That gives you the confidence to build up until you can run a 5K (3.1 miles) … and then a 10K … and then your next goal, and the next, and then the marathon.

Make sense?

For me, I broke the book down by my outline. Start with the introduction. Just that. And once words were on the page I could breathe a little easier and just go paragraph by paragraph, chapter by chapter.

The book is all about Strength Training for Seniors, if you want to know (and you’ll hear about it, y’all).

The Real Key to Getting S**T Done

First, set your mini-goal. Then to make it stick: Recognize and celebrate each new mini-goal. This helps you build up some serious confidence and excitement, making it a LOT more likely for you to keep the momentum going and get The Big Thing done.

It’s incredibly empowering.

What BIG GOAL is on your list right now?

And… more importantly, what’s that FIRST step you’re going to take to achieve it?

Leave a comment to share your goals and your first step.

Let’s get ‘er done, y’all.

One comment

  1. Geo M Alvarez Bouse says:

    To be concrete, what is the hot topic you are contracted to address? And from there what is your thesis on that topic? The little projects can become the divisions of your thesis that you will use to argue on behalf of it. Similarly, opposing arguments can be researched one-by-one until you have effectively ‘dismissed’ them.

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