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.
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!
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!