One step at a time.
How splitting tasks into tiny pieces keeps things moving.
Time is a commodity we do not have much of! With four kids, work, school, activities, feeding everyone, animals, basic daily home upkeep…our days get pretty full. With a toddler around, things rarely go smoothly and often there are multiple interruptions no matter how well we plan. Most days, the only way to spend more than a few minutes on any one task is for someone else to distract the kids for a while. Divide and conquer much?
The lack of time used to be a huge point of frustration for me. I would dearly love to be able to start a task and follow it through to completion. Yet, I’ve realized this doesn’t always jive with my personality. I have so many interests, and aspire to so many others that I’m often messing around with multiple things at once. Insert all the necessary chores and errands we need to get finished and it’s a recipe for disaster.
If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that most tasks can get broken down into smaller, manageable pieces. Often, these tasks may seem daunting at first and just thinking bout the process can stop you from ever wanting to begin in the first place. However, breaking things down into bit-sized pieces allows you to tackle a big task with minimal stress and effort. Granted, the timing has to work in some circumstances, but even so…this can be a great strategy for ticking things off your todo list.
Take making sourdough for instance. Most instructions tell you that you’ll need a 4-6 hour window in which to manage the rising and folding process. The trick is, the hands on time is just a few minutes. Set an alarm for 30 minute increments, and you’re good to go. If you miss an alarm or take a bit longer, no big deal. Bread is usually pretty forgiving!
I am the farthest thing from a perfectionist, thankfully, yet it’s much more fun for me to bounce around between different tasks or projects so I don’t get overly frustrated or bored when something doesn’t work the way I thought it would. It also keeps projects feeling fresh so they don’t feel all-consuming. As a kid, I used to fixate on certain things to the point of figuring them out, then quickly grow bored and move on. Smaller tasks and spreading things out, helps battle this compulsion!
One more note, is we often find, spreading out the pieces of a project help immensely with delayed gratification. If there’s one thing our culture is steeped in, it’s the satisfying of desires as quickly and easily as possible. Yet, we’ve found that once those desires are met, we’re not really all that satisfied and just look for something else to fill the void. Working on long term projects, even time-consuming and ornery ones, goes a long way to combatting that dissatisfaction and feeling of ennui. Turns out that old adage, “Good things come to those who wait.”, might have a bit of truth to it after all.