Break Your Tasks Down

How to make consistent progress towards your goals

October 15, 2019


3 min read

I’ve been using a trick to be productive lately: when I find myself not wanting to do something, I break it down into a smaller chunk until it’s a small enough bite of something that I want to do it. I end up making more progress more consistently with this trick. A lot of times, I’ll end up achieving much more than the small chunk I’d set out for myself to do.

Side Projects

This past week, I wanted to add an app install button to one of my side projects, Drinktracker. I went a whole week without even opening my laptop to work on it, so I broke the problem down: Instead of making my goal “build the install button,” I made it “work on the install button for 20 minutes.”

I sat down with the intention of spending 20 minutes and built the whole thing over a few hours.


Anyone who works out regularly knows that sometimes you just don’t feel like going. In this case, instead of committing to my whole planned workout, I go to just do my warm up sets and see how I feel — giving myself the option of doing lower weight or fewer sets that day.

Most of the time I’ve used this technique, I get to the gym, feel perfectly fine once I get started, and end up doing my original, full workout. There are some times that I have gotten there and done a reduced load, but at least I still showed up.


Everybody wants to read more books more often. What I do is I commit to read 10 pages or 1 chapter every time I think to read my current book. A lot of times I read more than just the 10 pages I’ve committed to. Using this technique, it's easy to read 50+ pages a week!

Build Momentum

Once you get started on something and make some progress, you build momentum towards productivity. You start with 20 minutes on one side project, end up finishing that over a couple hours, and it carries over into the next thing you want to do. You end up working on another project, reading a book, then doing yard work or cooking a nice dinner. Breaking down one thing and building that momentum can spiral upwards into a super productive day.

PS: I sat down with the intention to just write some ideas down on this topic, but I ended up writing a whole draft!