Back to overview

How to tackle larger tasks successfully


We all get caught up starting a large task and somewhere along the way we endure the pain of biting more than we can chew. From experience and constant iteration, I have learned you can actually prevent this horrible situation from ever happening again.

The first thing you need to realize is that any task can be split into smaller logical steps. The most valuable thing about this is that you will achieve many small victories that will help you move forward rather than one shadowing feeling that you won’t ever finish it. Also by seeing the smaller steps you will fine tune the overall goal to achieve something even better than the initial concept. And finally, your days will feel a lot more productive. If you work on the same old task every day for a week, after a few days you will feel like you are getting nowhere. But if you finish 5 of the smaller steps in a day, or even 2, you will feel a lot more accomplished.

I personally learn a lot better with examples so here it goes. Imagine you wanted to run a marathon… that’s simple just run 26 miles. Well not really. I think most of us can’t just go out and run more than a couple of miles. So you have two choices. The first is to just go out, run as long as you can, then stop. Repeat that for as many days as it takes to get to the 26 miles. This approach has a high chance of failure as you will feel overwhelmed really quick and have no structure. Now imagine you went out the first day and just ran as far as you can. Lets say you ran 1 mile. For the first 7 days you goal is to just run 1 mile every single day. Next week you want to start running 0.5 mile extra each day until you reach 5 miles. The third week you aim to reach 10 miles. You keep this process up until you reach 26 miles. But having a good plan you can reach for, and achieve each week, it makes you feel accomplishment in the small victories and move forward in a steady pace. So the next large task you take on, spend some time and clearly separate it into small achievable chunks. The more times you do it the better you will get.

Try separating a big project using a project management system now.