Overcome delay with a mini

Do you ever delay or avoid things you need to do because they seem overwhelming or uncertain? You can make progress on these things by using mini-tasks.

Here’s how it works:

A mini-task is a task that is so small you couldn’t make it any smaller without being silly about it. Calling a supplier to ask a specific question would be a good example of a mini-task.

In general, mini-tasks take 15 minutes or less to accomplish.

This time management technique addresses one of the most common causes of delay on larger projects: uncertainty about where to get started. For example, writing a book is a sequence of achievable tasks, but people frequently have a difficult time even getting started on such a seemingly huge project.

Sometimes it is not possible to plan a project or task from beginning to end. There may be too much uncertainty to be able to predict it from the beginning. However, you can develop a list for what is known to be done.  As you progress, you’ll be able to see further down the path and keep iterating. Then it is about how to address that list efficiently and effectively.

A good rule of is that if the thought of completing the to do list or things on it, fills you with dread, you might feel less daunted if you break your process down into smaller tasks.

How to use mini-tasks in planning your day

Previously, I have written about making lists and this is at the heart of getting mini-tasks to work for you. Give the following a try for a few weeks.

Near the end of each working day, make your to do list you need to do for the following day. Then think about which of those to dos you would most likely avoid because of uncertainty or seems too big to accomplish. Focus on those to dos and break them down into mini tasks and put those mini-tasks on your to do list instead. None of the mini-tasks should take a lot of time or be so complex that you’re hesitant to complete the step.

By breaking things down into simple, small, and manageable components, you’re much less likely to avoid things that need to get done.

Word of caution about mini-tasks

Firstly, don’t create them to give you a false sense of busyness, make sure they relate back to the bigger goal or projects that have been stagnating or difficult to keep moving.

Secondly, they should only be used to support your to-do list, not replace it, otherwise you will get lost in the weeds and wonder why you were doing all these mini-tasks.

In summary, don’t let things you don’t know stop you from getting things done. Keep moving forward by taking a couple of minutes to plan at the end of each day. Recongise this planning with the realisation that sometimes we don’t want to do things and we therefore avoid them. Use mini-tasks, remember these should take no more than 15 minutes, to confront those things you have been avoiding and develop the winning mindset of completion.