A simple, but effective strategy you can use is to break down your to-do list into mini-tasks.
How does it work exactly? A mini-task is precisely what the name implies — a task that is so small that you can't break it down any further.
Want an example of a mini-task? Calling a client to ask a very specific question is a good example.
Typically, a mini-task doesn't take more than 15 minutes to complete.
This time management strategy deals with one of the most common causes of procrastination as it relates to big projects: not knowing where or how begin.
Let's say you want to write a book. The book writing process is actually composed of several steps, but most people have a hard time getting started on this kind of project.
You'd want to plan the whole process from start to finish. This isn't always possible because there are projects that have way too much uncertainty that you can't really identify all the steps from beginning to end.
However, you can still create a task list that goes as far as you can determine. As you accomplish some of the tasks, you'll be able to identify new mini-tasks.
Let's use holiday shopping as a simple example. Your list of mini-tasks could like like this:
1. Create a budget for your holiday shopping.
2. List down the people you want to buy gifts for Christmas.
3. Identify which stores to buy the gifts from.
4. Organize the items by store so you only need to visit each store once.
5. Create a schedule for shopping.
6. On December 2, drive to Best Buy and Target to buy the items.
7. On December 9, drive to the mall and buy all the other items on the list.
Of course, depending on how far you are from the stores you need to go to, it will likely take you more than 15 minutes to drive there, so feel free to identify mini-tasks for that. Perhaps on the way to the store, you can drop by the post office to mail Christmas cards to family.
The purpose behind mini-tasks is that you'll feel less daunted if you're doing one small task at a time than a huge task that only fills you with dread.
How Else Can Mini-Tasks Benefit You?
Treat your mini-task list like a recipe — just tackle each task in the order they appear in their list. You're done when you complete the last mini-task.
Make sure that each task is quick and easy to do so that you won't hesitate to complete each one.
When you make a list of mini-tasks, you get a good idea of how long the big project is going to take. This will help you feel less overwhelmed by what you need to do.
You can easily plan your day with the help of mini-tasks. You might be skeptical about using this strategy, but you won't know if it's right for you or not if you don't give it a try.
Before you go to bed, create a list of all the things you have to get done the next day. Your list might have around 50 or so tasks. Don't be overwhelmed by how long your list is. Remember that they're quick and easy tasks. You won't be doing each one for hours. You can even refine your list and remove tasks that aren't really necessary.
On those days that you feel like you can't get anything accomplished, having a mini-task list can be of great help.
Mini-tasks are an excellent way for you to complete complex or big projects. When you break down big tasks into small tasks, you'll stop procrastinating and start getting things done.
Many people have found this simple time management technique to be powerful, as it allows them to be consistent in getting a lot of work accomplished.
So instead of multi-tasking, give mini-tasking a try. It will help you stop procrastinating.