What about the small things?
Take a look at your to-do list.
How many small things have been lurking on there for what feels like forever?
By ‘small things’, I mean tasks that would take less than fifteen minutes. (I don’t mean ‘insignificant things’…if your list is full of insignificant tasks I’d suggest having some fun crossing those off!)
You know the small tasks I mean, right? The ones you just never seem to get around to but that you really can’t ditch. The small things that hang around on your list, giving you a sinking feeling in your stomach every time you look at them because you still haven’t done them.
- Replying to an email that’s been hanging around for a while
- Paying an invoice
- Sending a birthday card
- Sharing a link to your blog on social media
- Contacting that fabulous person you met at a networking event the other day
They sound so simple. So why (oh why!) do we struggle to get them done?
I have a theory.
People (including yours truly) talk about the importance of focusing on your most important things. We talk about finding your flow and giving yourself chunks of uninterrupted time to get your head down and concentrate. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; it’s very sound advice and a crucial part of getting things done.
But here’s the problem: I believe that when we hear ‘most important things’, many of us automatically translate that into ‘big and important things’. We perhaps think about creating a free giveaway, working on a book or preparing to start work with a new client.
Where does that leave the small things? The less-than-fifteen-minute things that are just as necessary, if not quite so glamorous?
If you never give those ‘small and important’ things the time of day, they’ll never get done. You’ll continue to have loose ends and almost-but-not-quite-finished things hanging over your head. Every flippin’ day, you’ll see those small things STILL on your list and they’ll drive you potty, making you feel guilty, frustrated and increasingly useless!
If, on the other hand, you recognise that the small things can make a big difference both to your business and to your headspace, it’s a whole different story. Before you know it, you’re experiencing more of the satisfaction that comes from ticking something off your list. That shifts your brain into a positive state which will, in turn, make you more productive. Hooray for that!
I’m not saying that you should drop everything to tend to the small things; we definitely don’t want those tasks to turn into interruptions that stop you in your tracks.
But if you can find a way of working that allows you to check in with the small important things without interfering with the big important things, I’d say you’re onto a winner!
What small things do you have lurking on your list right now? I’d love for you to share either in the comments below or over in my Facebook group!