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Need a Productivity Boost? Start With the Little Things First

Do you ever feel like you’re in a productivity rut and can’t get anything done? It happens to me all the time, but after experiencing lots and lots of frustrations over the years, I’ve found a sure-fire method to kick myself into gear when my feet seem to be stuck in the mud.

When I need a productivity boost, I start with the little things first. I intentionally keep a bunch of small, easy-to-handle actions on my To-Do List. Sometimes those small items will get pushed to the end of my list because I’m just in the mood to attack the more important heavy-hitter items. But other times, I know that I need to attack some of those little items first. Why? Because when I’m feeling like I can’t or don’t want to move forward, I know that I need motivation. What motivates me more than anything else? Momentum! How do I get momentum? Action and progress! What’s the easiest way to take action and make progress? Do the little things that I know I can slam shut in a hurry!

I find that without fail, when I start checking little items off of my To-Do List, I become motivated to check more and more things off my list. Soon enough, I am tackling the biggest and most challenging items.

Another important reason for handling the small items on your To-Do List is because those items often serve as destructive tolerations. A destructive toleration is something that you know needs to be done but instead of taking care of it, you carry it around with you for days, weeks, or even months. When you keep these tolerations hanging around, they can become a productivity killer. Tolerations (of any kind) slow us down. They become a source of frustration and they often lead to negative self feelings like, “if I can’t do this, I can’t do anything”. Some examples of these tolerations in your life might be things like returning a call from an old friend, cleaning the laundry room, handling a past-due bill, sending a Thank You card, etc. I encourage you to take care of these things immediately and continue to search for new tolerations that can be added to (and checked-off) your To-Do List. It will make a big difference – I promise!

So, the next time that you feel like you’re in a rut, try adding some small things to your list and get them knocked off quickly. I think you’ll be surprised to see the positive difference it will make in your overall level of productivity!

Need a Productivity Boost? Start With the Little Things First

View Comments to “Need a Productivity Boost? Start With the Little Things First”

  • […] 4. Remove all potential distractions so that you have complete focus on your task. • This step is so important that I’ve written a separate article just on this topic. Check out “Struggling With Productivity? Remove the Distractions”. […]


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