How to Take on Big Projects
Plows have an uncanny way of making a mountain range at the end of driveways.
On a recent evening, I stood in front of one such mountain range. This will take until the end of time, I told myself. My body was drained just looking at it.
But I didn't have a choice. Don't shovel, car doesn't leave.
So I began at the lowest part of the mountain range. I shoveled snow from the top down, rather than bottom up. Then I could instantly see the progress I was making. And a sense of progress would juice up my momentum.
As I shoveled, I made a few deals with myself: Only look at what you're working on. Only think about the snow on your shovel right now. Don't bother worrying about the other snow; it's not going anywhere.
If I focused on the whole mountain range, it was impossibly daunting. If I stuck with these deals, the snow was shovelable.
The moon rose above me. The stars shone over me. And very slowly, the snow disappeared around me.
When it comes to big projects, I thought as I shoveled the last of the mountain range, place your focus on small pieces.