Productivity Tactic #3: Think Big, Act Small

OK so now you’ve got your nice and concise list of prioritized goals for 2012. Now what?

Any one of your goals can seem like a huge undertaking, let alone the whole list of them, and it can feel a bit daunting to figure out how to start tackling them.

That’s why it’s so important to be able to Think Big, but Act Small. Keeping the end goal in mind is always a good practice, but don’t let that distract you from the smaller steps you’ll need to take to get there.

Take each goal and break it up into smaller bite-size steps. Try to quantify each step with a minimum amount of progress you want to reach, such as “run 3 miles this week” or “put away 10 stray items” – instead of with a time limit. This will save you a great deal of stress and better motivate you to get them done sooner with a greater sense of reward once you do.

As you identify these steps, map them out in the order you’ll need to do them, as well as their priority, in whatever form is easiest for you (i.e. list, a spreadsheet, a timeline, a flow-chart, even picture art), as long as it’s something you can keep around and easily refer back to throughout the process.

As I mentioned in my last post on prioritizing, I am personally a big fan of Google spreadsheets. So I keep my smaller steps laid out on one of those, with columns to indicate their priority, action item, progress and due date. This system worked for me last year, so I’ve created a Google Docs Template of my spreadsheet for you to try it out too. Just keep in mind that it may not be the best method for you, depending on what kind of system you are looking for and feel comfortable with.

The important thing is to try different things out until you do figure out what system works best with how you already naturally get tasks done. Do you like having a handwritten to-do list in a notebook you carry with you, or would you rather organize your to-do’s in your email inbox? Or perhaps you’d find it most useful to schedule blocks of time on your calendar for when you plan to work on each task?

Whatever the case, find what works for you and make it your own – so it won’t be hard to keep up the habit as you continue to tackle your Chaos!

The other important thing to remember is to take them one at a time. As I said in my last post, multitasking is a myth. Don’t get distracted trying to juggle multiple tasks at one time. You can have several in progress at once, but don’t try to focus your attention on more than one at any given moment, or you’ll end up taking even longer to get each done.

On the same note, you also don’t have to start tackling all 10 (or however many you have) goals all at once. You have the whole year to reach your goals, so don’t rush it. Start with your top 3 goals (based on the priority you set in Resolution Tactic #2) and then add a fourth after 3 weeks if you can handle it.

Here’s a tip: Assign yourself NO MORE than 2 critical to-do’s each day that move towards your goals, and make sure you do them! If you need help choosing, ask yourself:

If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?

So good luck to you and get to stepping!

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Questions? Comments? Absurd Ideas? Add a comment below to tell me one of your Artist goals this year, and how you can break it down into bite-size, actionable steps!