We all have those projects that are not of the highest priority but that still need to get done. We know we should do them, but they are not so urgent that we have to.
So, day after day, they fall to the bottom of our To Do List, and their unfinished-ness weighs on us. It’s like Chinese Water Torture. Drip, drip, drip until you can’t stand the thought of that project anymore.
Enter the 7-Minute Strategy: put that item on your To Do list as the first item of the day and ONLY give it 7 MINUTES. Period.
Try that for a week.
You will either:
a) begin to make progress and start to feel better or,
b) get so into it after 7 minutes that you decide give it more time, maybe even finish the damn thing.
Either way, you’ll thank me.
Think your Chinese Water Torture project is too big for 7-minutes to be effective? Nope. Just break that huge project into several smaller chunks. Then work on one chunk at a time. Nibble at it until you eat the whole block of cheese like the persistent little mouse that you are.
Staying consistent is the key. Here are some tools you might use to keep you honest:
Put it as the first item on your To Do List and agree you won’t move to anything else before you do your 7 minutes.
Set an alarm or use an app that hassles you until you get it done every day.
Ask someone (preferably your most ball-busting friend or colleague) to hold you accountable to making small, incremental progress on your project.
Here’s how I handle mine. I’ve added pink circles to point out where this task falls on my daily To Do List:
Some ideas for projects that work really well with this strategy, but really, except for maybe childbirth, the possibilities are endless:
- blog post writing
- spreadsheet entries
- paperwork filing
- cleaning the garage (just break that huge project up into chunks. One chunk might be the tool area. Just spend 7 minutes on one tiny section of the tool area. Thin that out for 7 minutes, brush your hands off and be done. Tomorrow, move onto another tiny section of the tool area.)
- pantry reorganization (one shelf at a time, or a tiny section of a shelf)
- tax preparation
- thank you note writing
You get the drift. This is easy. We can do this.