Now that Spring is finally here, you may be feeling more energized to tackle bigger projects but might feel overwhelmed as to where to begin or lose motivation halfway through. I totally relate to that because I find tackling larger tasks and projects overwhelming sometimes!
What often happens to me is that I’ll try to do it all in one sitting which causes me to lose steam, lose motivation and get distracted by thoughts or external things (like my phone) more easily. Does this sound familiar to you?
Over the years I have tried a few different ways to tackle larger projects, and with lots of trial and error, I have finally found a method that works for me, and I think it might work for you too!
There are a few steps to this method that are easy to implement and have helped me tackle bigger projects and complete them which gives me so much satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment and confidence to take on other projects with less resistance.
There are 5 steps to this and to give you an example of how I use this method, I’ll share with you an example of a project that I tackle every Spring.
The big project
When the weather warms up I bring our Spring/Summer clothes out of storage, I also get our Winter clothes ready to be stored away. While I sort through these items I find there are clothes that the kids have grown out of, or I no longer wear that I need to set aside for donation.
Here are the steps:
Step #1 – Figure out approximately how long the task or project will take (in total minutes/hours). It can just be a guess, but it gives you a starting point.
I know from previous experience, that it usually takes me 3 hours total to haul the totes of clothes up from our basement, go through the drawers and closets, take out the winter clothes and sort through them to see if any need to be donated.
Step #2 – Set time aside in your weekly calendar. Make a commitment to yourself by setting aside a block of time in your schedule to work on your larger project or task.
Knowing that I need approximately 3 hours total, I find a day on my calendar and set aside that block of time to dedicate to the project or task.
Step #3 – Figure out what steps need to be taken and in what order. Then write the steps down on a checklist. As you complete each step, you’ll be checking it off as you go. Start with small, achievable steps to help build your confidence.
I write every single step required for the task down on a piece of paper, starting with the obvious.
For example, my list might look something like this:
- Bring Spring Clothes Tote up from the basement
- Get a large garbage bag for donations
- Sort through clothes in the tote and put items for donation in the bag
- Sort clothes I’m keeping in piles according to their owner
- Go through my drawers and closet, grab winter clothes, put them in pile etc.
Step #4 – Follow the 20/10 rule. In the book, “Un@#ck Your Habitat” author Rachel Hoffman suggests breaking your tasks into manageable chunks of time using the 20/10 rule.
Essentially it means you spend 20 minutes completing a task, followed by a 10-minute break. This helps to maintain motivation and reduce overwhelm, and the 20-minute time block is a sustainable way of working through a larger task. The 10-minute break is non-negotiable in this method, as taking a break allows you to build the habit and mindset of being able to stop something and return to it afterwards with a fresh set of eyes and less frustration. 20 minutes is totally doable, and there is a clear end in sight.
She says that how many 20/10 blocks you need will depend on the size of the task. A large project may require many of them, broken up over several days’ worth of work. You get to decide how many you want to do at any given time.
For example, since I know that my task usually takes approximately 3 hours total (or 180 minutes), I calculate that I will need 6 blocks of the 20/10 time (which 180 minutes divided by 30 minutes of work/break time=6).
Checking in with myself and acknowledging how busy my week had been, I would probably only have the energy to complete the tasks in 2 blocks or 60 minutes each day.
On my calendar I would write:
Saturday – Two 20/10 blocks (60 minutes)
Sunday – Two 20/10 blocks (60 minutes)
Step #5 – Manage Distractions. Sometimes it can be difficult to focus on the task at hand, especially when it is a big task that takes a lot of time.
Learning how to cultivate Mindfulness can greatly assist you in learning to give a task your complete attention and not miss any important steps.
I created a meditation that helps you practise mindfulness through body scanning and breath counting. Practicing this Mindfulness Meditation can help to improve your focus and redirect your attention better over time when faced with distractions, both internal and external.
Before I complete my Winter/Spring Clothes turnover, I listened to this type of meditation and I hope that by creating one for you, you will find it helpful and useful before starting your bigger task or project.