When the first step is too big

It’s pretty common for people to put off tidying, cleaning, or organizing because it seems like a big project, and they don’t have time. Looking at a garage full of boxes, for example, is very discouraging. You know clearing it out will take hours, and you don’t want to spend a rare day off doing that.

A quote I highlighted last week is:

“If you’re having trouble starting something, the first step is too big.”  -Mary Solanto, PhD

David Allen, authour of Getting Things Done, advises that we just ask ourselves what the next step is. When you see the giant pile of boxes in the garage, what is the first thing you have to do? Not “clear out all those boxes.” Smaller. How about, “Take down the closest box?” That doesn’t seem so intimidating. Then what? “Open the box.” Then? “Take out whatever’s on top and make a decision about it.” Keep going.

One of your best friends when you’re procrastinating is a clock.

time speeding on

If you don’t have a day to work on the garage, set aside fifteen minutes. Set an alarm. Walk into the garage and take the smallest first step. Spend 15 minutes. If you’re in the groove at the end of that time and want to keep going, hurray. If not, walk away. You have started. You are 15 minutes closer to your goal. Tomorrow, set the alarm for 15 minutes and do the next small step.

Everything in life is accomplished one minute at a time. Not much of it has to be accomplished all in one leap. It’s okay to be the tortoise here; chip away at the job, slowly but steadily, and you will win this race.

This entry was posted in DeClutter, Tips and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
Back to Top