Whether it was writing a college paper, renovating my bathroom or starting my own business, taking on a massive project has been stressful and overwhelming for me. In the past, I would focus on how enormous the undertaking was and momentarily get paralyzed. Motivating myself to actually get to the task could sometimes take hours. Instead of diving in, I would find other distracting things to do (like organizing my spice rack) or start other projects that had more instant gratification.
The thing is I am great at tackling a to-do list. Checking things off is utterly satisfying and simple to do. I tend to get to tasks like "schedule an appointment with the dentist" or "send an invoice to the client" pretty effortlessly, but the larger jobs seem to earn a permanent spot on my list and never get a check next to it.
After years of struggling to tackle large projects, I finally had a lightbulb moment. If I am a rockstar at handling small tasks, why can't I break large jobs down into smaller sections and approach the project as many manageable jobs instead of one large one?
I tried out that different approach and it worked! Instead of putting an enormously overwhelming task like "write a book" on my plate, I listed out the first five steps needed to write a book with a due-date next to each. "Interviewing editors" is a much more approachable task than "writing a book." It took a little more work and thought up-front, but it worked like a charm.
Now, I can only approach massive projects this way. From moving homes with a 1-year-old in tow to creating an online course for my business, there is no way I would have been able to conquer those challenges in a calm and productive way had I not learned this trick. A little pre-planning and strategy certainly is worth it in the long run.