Break it Down Now

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The winter months seem to be a favorite time for everyone to recharge and re-evaluate their spaces, their careers, the way they organize things. And who would blame them? With all the cold weather it’s natural to want to hibernate inside and tackle those millions of little projects that start driving you crazy after so much time spent indoors.

I say millions of projects because most of us have them. Even if you think the items on your to-do list can be easily counted on one hand, you would be surprised at how many projects each of these incomplete items comprises.

Take for example an especially sticky task such as “organizing my office”. Action words like “organize”, “clean”, or even “figure out” make me wary. What do each of these actions mean physically?

Let’s go back to organizing that office. What would it take to get your office organized? I’m betting you there’s at least more than one step involved. In fact, there could be steps involved to the steps you have to take in order for your office to become more organized.

I’d like to get mine organized too. In order for it to look organized, however (or at least to the point where it “feels” organized), I have to complete more than one task.

  1. Get my overflowing inbox to “zero”.
  2. Organize my magazine clippings.
  3. Back-up my computer’s hard drive (not exactly a step that makes my office look physically organized, but one that makes me feel as if I am!)

The task at hand (organizing my office) has suddenly become three smaller, much more manageable tasks. Automatically my to-do list has grown larger, but the things I have to do in order to complete the list have suddenly become much more well-defined. The job of organizing my office has suddenly become much more manageable.

Having vague, sweeping notions of what it is that you need to do can become intimidating, which allows us to procrastinate or even worse, grow numb to actually doing the task. If it’s broken up in smaller, more manageable chunks you no longer need to put these tasks off because you don’t have time to put an afternoon aside, or you don’t know where to start.

Try it! Take a particularly tricky item on your to-do list and write out the steps you need to take in order to follow it through to completion. It may be that your list will grow uncomfortable long but at least you’ll find that those bite-sized chunks are a little bit easier to swallow.

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Juggling a part-time job with a full-time business is pretty harrowing to say the least. This is how I break down my projects, but I’d love to hear more of your tips in the comments below. Read about other ways I manage to keep busy here, and more about how I run my business here. Whenever I feel like taking a break, you’ll probably catch me reading or forcing my baking on other people. The list of projects never ends!

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