Be honest, do you ever procrastinate? I bet you do!
Would you like to know a simple method to help you put a stop to this time-wasting habit?
You can make progress today by breaking your to-do list into mini-tasks.
This time management technique addresses one of the most common causes of procrastination on larger projects: getting started.
Sometimes it’s difficult to because you’re not sure where to get started. Other times it’s because the project is such a huge undertaking.
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 large project.
If the thought of completing the task fills you with dread, it’s time to give the mini-task technique a try. You might feel less daunted if you break your process down into smaller tasks that don’t seem too difficult to complete.
Let’s take a look at how you should use mini-tasks, the benefits of using mini-tasks, and a simple example of mini-tasking that pretty much anyone can understand.
How Mini-Tasks Work
A mini-task is a task that is so small you couldn’t make it any smaller without being silly or nitpicky about it. Calling a supplier to ask a specific question would be a good example of a mini-task.
In general, mini-tasks take about 10-15 minutes or less to accomplish.
Ideally, you’ll plan the entire process of a project from beginning to end, breaking down the steps necessary to achieve big milestones into mini-tasks. A lot of your projects will have a specific process that you can follow to complete it.
But this may not always be possible. Some projects have too much uncertainty to be able to predict the entire process from the beginning.
However, you can still develop a task list for as far as you’re able to plan out. At some point, you’ll be able to see further down the path and can develop new mini-tasks.
The Benefits of Using Mini-Tasks
You always know what to do next
A list of mini-tasks is like a recipe—all you have to do is move down the list!
When you get to the end, you’re done. None of the tasks should take a lot of time or be so complex that you’re hesitant to complete the step.
You can estimate how much time you need easier
Another benefit of making a min-task list is that you’ll have an excellent idea of how long the overall project will take.
Assigning a time estimate without considering all the tasks involved is challenging. It often results in an inaccurate estimate, which means you feel bad when you’re not able to complete a project in the time you thought you could.
That’s definitely not good!
You can plan your day better
Making a list of mini-tasks can also be an effective way to plan your day. Even if you don’t think this will work for you, give it a try for a few days and see.
The evening before, make a list of all the tasks you need to do for the following day. If you often feel like you never get anything done, this might be a great technique to apply daily.
You may end up with a list of 50 or so items, which might be overkill, but try it anyway. You can always scale back as needed.
With practice, you’ll know exactly how much you can manage to complete within a single day and you won’t feel bad about pushing things back to the next day. You’ll have accomplished a lot already!
Example of a Mini-Task List
Let’s use a simple example: holiday shopping.
Your mini-task list might look like this:
- Make a budget for all holiday shopping.
- Make a list of everyone to shop for.
- Decide which stores would be best for each item.
- Organize all items by store so I only have to go to each store one time.
- Develop a shopping schedule. For example:
- On 12/1 I will go to Wal-Mart and Best Buy and purchase items available at those stores.
- On 12/8 I will go to the mall and get all the items I need from those stores.
Driving to the store and shopping will likely take more than 15 minutes, but if you can break down your shopping process into smaller tasks, you can do that as well.
Even if you can’t, you’ve already completed most of your task list. You might as well continue on to do the rest, right?
Give Mini-Tasks a Try
Mini-tasks are a viable way of completing large or complex projects. The technique breaks down each step of your project into small, manageable chunks.
Keep most tasks down to something you can do within 10-15 minutes. By doing this, you’re much less likely to procrastinate.
For a lot of people, this is a very effective way to consistently get a lot done. Try mini-tasking instead of multi-tasking and watch your efficiency soar!
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