This is one of those things that is blindingly obvious and yet really difficult. I found that I have an item on my to-do list that might be one task such as “organise my inbox” but sitting and doing that all in one go is impossible so it never gets done.

Other people will tell you to pick some low hanging fruit and make some progress in the early stages of a task. That makes sense, but then, the motivation to complete the harder, remaining part remains.

I’m a numbers guy, so I think there is some merit in breaking the task into manageable chunks, using them.

If we take the inbox example, let’s suppose (he tried to look innocently) that there were 12,000 emails to read and file, action or delete. Then, let’s suppose that the best present I could give to myself was to be at “inbox zero” by Christmas, which happens to be 13 days away.

To achieve this goal of ticking a big task off my list I need a plan.

  • So my one-line task is “Organise my Inbox” – this is unachievable
    • I’m going to split 12,000 emails across 12 of those days so every day I will have a task of “review 1,000 emails” – more realistic. My aim is to triage these into 2 folders and the bin/trash (depending on where you are reading this from).
      • A message will either be “archived” as something I need to keep or
      • filed for me to take action on
    • But you said there are 13 days…?
      • If all goes to plan, I will use day 13 to accomplish two things;
        • Review the archive and file appropriately (being really ruthless as I go)
        • Review the “To action” file and add the things I really need to do to my “big list”.

These tasks are more manageable but on the surface makes the to-do list longer. But more achievable, and that’s the end goal.

I’ll try to remember to post how I get on, wish me luck!

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