On Getting The Big Stuff Done

When it comes to cleaning my apartment, the bathroom mirror is a good place to start.

It takes a small batch of seconds to do and when it’s done, it shines. I feel great about it. I have accomplished something that is crystal clear - or rather, mirror clear.

But the key thing is that sense of accomplishment: it drops the drawbridge over the moat and opens up much more energy. That’s precisely what I need to take on the cleaning that is less immediately shining and gratifying and asks more of me.

This is not my idea. Productivity experts and financial advisors have been peddling this for years. There are a few ways to unpack it, here’s the way I do:

When we have projects so large, our neck strains craning back to see the full size of them or undertakings so unappealing, we’d rather paint Versailles with a toothbrush than do them, we can avoid, avoid, avoid like a pro.

Except the weight of not doing these things exacts a toll. It can crush down on our psyche. We lug around not only the undone task, but the guilt that we haven’t done it, and then, if undone long enough, uncertainty that we even can do it. Not fixing a just-barely working phone/car/coffee maker, taxes untackled, the long-term work project that needs to be started now so there aren’t a string of all-nighters later, these bad guys can rattle our very sense of self.

Let’s not have this, eh?

If we give ourselves a point of entry that leads quickly to a small win, it rallies our confidence and energy for the larger steps ahead. We’re showing ourselves that we’re capable of Getting Stuff Done.

Which we are. Sometimes we just need a reminder.

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