20 tiny steps. A fab way to get stuff done

Written by  //  August 12, 2013  //  Daily Juice  //  No comments

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Here’s something which might help you get stuff done that you’ve been putting off AND explain why it takes so long to do it.


I’ve had this big-bit-o’-work to do which I’ve been totally not doing. I wanted to get on with it and I needed to get on with it. But it was kinda hurting my head thinking about it. I know why I didn’t want to do it – it was tricky and tedious. Still, it had to get done.

While procrastinating on my big-bit-o’-work I was reading some stuff about routines, the way writers write, willpower and a few other articles. I thought I found an article which suggested doing this 20 step thing which I’m going to explain shortly. As it happens when I went back to read the article properly and reference it here, if didn’t say this at all! So it seems I sort of made this up. Well I can tell you it TOTALLY works.

 20 tiny steps to getting it done

I’ve written before about breaking a BIG thing into little steps to get it done. And it works fabulously well for projects that feel overwhelming. Or the ones where you just don’t know where to start.

What I’d never really done before was use it for big-bits-o’-work that I knew how to do, but just didn’t want to do.

Anyway it works super-duperly well if you do this:

1. Get an A4 sized bit of paper

2. Number the lines 1 to 20

3. Write down the first 20 steps that you need to do

4. Make it super noddy. So for example the 20 steps list for this blog post started:

1. Read evernote folder of ‘blog topics’

2. Select topic for today

3. Create google docs “word doc”

4. Decide title of post

5. Select image for post

6. Write intro

 Now normally I would just have “blog post” on my list of things to do. But breaking it into all it’s tiny bits makes it feel really easy to get started on. It also means that if I haven’t got much time (say I’ve only got a spare 15 mins before a phone meeting) I can get started on something big (like writing a blog post) that I would normally otherwise put to one side until I had a decent chunk of time.

What I’ve found with my big-bit-o’-work problem is that I can easily, and always, get going with the the first few things on the list. Once I’d done them I’m often in the mood to carry on and knock a few more over. And if I’m not, it doesn’t matter. I’ve got my list and I’ll tackle it teeny-bit by teeny-bit later.

Best of all though is this. I’ve long wondered why I don’t get that much done in a day. Now I know why. Even little tasks have masses of steps in them and we (or should I say I?!) really don’t appreciate how long they take to do. Take finding an image for a blog post for example. I think it’s a fun thing to do so it never really struck me before that I can easily take me half an hour to find it and load it up.

So if you’re stuck getting stuff done, or wondering why you don’t get enough done in a day, try using ‘20 tiny steps’ . I’ve been doing it every day for about a month now and am loving it.

Fancy giving it a go?!


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