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Tiny Tasks and Micro Actions: Meet More Big Project Success with Less Effort

Excited man throwing pen and papers in the air
Content:

Introduction

What is a Micro Action?

Start With Personal Care

Improve Your Routines

When You Feel Like You Have Many Tasks

Break Down the Big to Small, Even Tiny

Slow Down to Speed Up

Compound Your Completions

Apply Micro Actions at Work

Your Enthusiasm Level

Get a Micro Action Mindset

Conclusion

Tiny Tasks and Micro Actions: Meet More Big Project Success with Less Effort

Do you have a micro action wall? Do you notice that you have a big project you’re not finishing? Or multiple unfinished big projects? And you’re hurting your self-confidence because you’re not able to finish those big projects?
And you feel at the end of the at the end of those months or more of effort than you’ve wasted your time because you couldn’t pull that thing through to completion?
The reason for that has a few factors. When you understand them, those things will be a lot easier.
This article will cover the factors and how you can use tiny tasks to reach macro goals.

To Do List

What is a Micro Action?

A micro action is a simple, easy-to-do action that takes very little time.
Micro-actions may seem small, but they are very real. Keep in mind that every decision you make in life is important, and that the little things do matter.
When you make a decision to take a micro action, you make an important life decision.

man writing on fridge drinking coffee

Start With Personal Care

One of the best ways to learn to manage tasks to reach successful goals is with personal care. Wait? What’s that got to do with my projects?
You probably heard from your parents about doing your daily tasks like making your bed or washing the dishes.

While parents mean well, maybe the way your parents communicated this to you was either too aggressive or too forceful. And that left a bad taste in your mouth.
Sometimes they unintentionally create resistance in their children and that resistance can remain in us as adults.

We end up with a resistance to doing simple things like cleaning your room, cleaning your office, doing paperwork, doing taxes, maintaining a good self-care routine—showering and haircuts and brushing teeth and all that good stuff.
If any resistance is in any of those, start with looking at your daily operations of self-care, for example:

  • what you do in the bathroom
  • what you do in the kitchen
  • what you do at your desk

Are they operating optimally? What can you do here?

Improve Your Routines

If you notice in your daily operations that you have an opportunity for improvement, that’s the best place to start. See where you can make things easier and simpler.

Do this because you’ll find a sense of completion every day in your daily routines.
That means from your morning to your evening on that 24-hour cycle— and from your Monday to the end of the week on Sunday—your week cycle is complete in terms of you getting your high-priority stuff done. Things are organized, things are clean, you know what your priorities are. You’ve managed your home and your workspace in a good way.
Taking care of small tasks boosts your self-confidence. You may not notice at first, but those tasks build a positive attitude toward completion.
Psychology Today commented on the results of doing small actions:
Small, consistent actions are more reliable. We have the ability and resources to complete and continue small actions. Any form of success, even if trifling and incremental, is important at first. Momentum builds on any success; nothing succeeds like success, and it feels great, too. Disgust and its memory soon dissipate, as these positive changes spill over into other domains needing and waiting for growth.
You’ve accomplished your tasks. You feel the scope is reasonable. And you have that sense of completion that builds confidence.
woman using laptop

When You Feel Like You Have Too Many Tasks

If you notice that you’re not able to accomplish this routine, that day-to-day routine, why is it? Is there too much on your plate? Is there some outside factor affecting you whether a roommate or a partner? Is there something in your living situation that’s hindering you? Is it noise in the neighborhood? Is it an uncooperative roommate? Is it just maybe you don’t like where you live any more?

Find out what’s going on and fix it. Get clear so you can get your daily routine complete. But those solutions are often big tasks, and we’re already talking about not getting them done. So where do you start?
This change also starts with simple actions. For example, if you eat something at home, you put away the dishes right away. Or, when you go through your mail or email, organizing things: either doing them right away or putting them in a proper to-do list, prioritizing the actions on the list, and setting a time to complete the action—within the week in a specified time block.

Break Down the Big to Small, Even Tiny

The secret to completing big tasks, is breaking them down into micro actions. The reason those small actions work is because each time you complete one of those small tasks—a micro action—you’ve completed a task.

 

Each time you experience completion, you build self-confidence. With time, you have the self-confidence to finish larger tasks. That confidence comes from experiencing repetitive completion success.

 

It’s a cumulative effect. How we think about and assess tasks, big or small, determines our actions and ability to complete them. The more we practice a task, the faster we become at perfecting the task. We assign a time to do the task, apply ourselves wholeheartedly, and get really focused. The act of assigning time to the task, and then doing that task, often causes us to get numb and not grip the required nerves for the task at hand. We sometimes make the small mistake of making the task too big.
person writing on diary

Slow Down to Speed Up

Rushing through the task makes it easy to not do it well. Or if it is a larger task, to skip a step. When you focus on the small tasks and get each one done, you build a solid foundation for completing more tasks.

Focus on one task at a time.

Allow for adequate breaks between micro actions. You need breaks between tasks to keep you focused. A break, and then the next task. Breaks actually keep you from constantly quitting tasks you haven’t planned for, or “moving on” to time on social media. Those distractions can make you “feel good” about getting burned out. You get a quick pleasure moment that leaves you with the angst of not completing your task.
Think of something you need to do at home. Maybe it’s a sink and counter filled with dirty dishes. When you look at it you feel like the kid who is told, “Clean your room,” doesn’t know where to begin and breaks down in tears.
Then a big brother or Mom shows the kid how to find all the blocks and put them away in the small toy box. Then all the stuffed animals. Then the crayons and pencils. And soon the room is clean.
You can do the same thing with the pile of dirty dishes. If it feels too daunting to wash them all, wash them one dish at a time.

That’s right. Wash a cup. Then walk away. Pretty easy right? One cup. Later, wash a bowl. Then walk away. If you keep washing one dish at a time, you’ll finish washing all the dishes. It may take a couple of days, but you’ll have finished the big task.

Compound Your Completions

The kitchen dishes are an extreme example. But it’s an example easy to visualize. Each clean dish is a micro action success. And each success builds on the last so the big project is completed. The big project is done.

That’s the power of compounding your micro successes.
Now that you’ve seen that sink and counter cleaned of all dirty dishes. You can understand how the tiniest actions compound to complete a big project.

And that’s how micro actions work on a larger scale. Whether it’s that do-it-yourself home project or a big project at work, micro actions bring you to completion.
The leadership company Franklin Covey said while describing micro action results:

Wherever you are in your overwhelm or excitement, put one foot in front of the other. Imagine if a month from now, thirty days, you’d taken one micro-action a day toward building or rebuilding your business or project—even thirty micro-actions is undeniably great progress.

Apply Micro Actions at Work

Once you get the hang of micro actions at home, you can use the same approach with projects at work, even large projects.
Start with your shorter term projects—those one month, three months, six months projects—and then longer term projects.
And wherever you are with your current employment or schooling or career, how well are those aligned with your main priorities in life? And how much drive do you have? How much sense of purpose do you identify with those projects?
Those are important questions. Because any task whether it’s a one-week task to reorganize the furniture in the living room or a months-long task to find a new job, you need a clear identification of the purpose and the motivation for this project. It is the only thing that will pull you through when the going gets tough.
To reach your goal of a completed project, break it down into smaller steps. If the project is yours, write a to-do list and perform each action one at a time. If you are working with a team, assign various project actions to different team members and help them with their to-do lists. All the actions when completed compound into project done.

Your Enthusiasm Level

Imagine you’re reorganizing. You’re redesigning your living room you have maybe an eight hour time block on Saturday to do everything and you just get physically exhausted.
But because you’re excited you want to see this thing through. You’re able to muster that last bit of physical energy to get the thing done in the time that you have available.
The same thing goes for bigger projects where you’re looking for a career or doing a personal project or launching a business. Those things take months and years to bring to completion. Making sure at the beginning, you are aligned with your excitement, your motivation, will pull you through.
So look at your excitement level. If you look at your excitement level on a scale of one to 10 on a new project, evaluate that carefully. Only if it’s an eight or higher, do you have a good chance of pulling through.
Maybe the start is going to be at eight but when things get tough, it’s going to drop down to a five or a four or three. But even in a three you can still pull it through if you understand your purpose.
But if you’re starting the project at a five, six, or seven, you’re not likely to finish it. That’s bad because it hurts your self-esteem. You want to complete things because it’s important for your self-esteem and reporting to get positive feedback loops in your life.
man holding out arms admiring view from mountain

Get a Micro Action Mindset

As a rule, it is normal to set goals and then forget them within a short period of time or find that they aren’t possible. How does this happen? Most of the time, we try to achieve too much and too quickly.
Science has proven that a simple solution is to break milestone targets into smaller milestones
You are 11 times more likely to succeed if you make one change a day. We can learn to grow in our abilities through micro-actions. (Markman, 2017. Source: www.baileyandfrench.com)
If you’re stuck in short-term firefighting mode and you’ve been struggling to prioritize tasks and focus attention on specific tasks, then using a micro-action plan will provide the solution.
By reducing your goals into manageable chunks, you will no longer feel compelled to ignore the source of the problem. Instead of goals falling to the bottom of the task list, the cause might be confronted micro action by micro action.
The most challenging task suddenly appears easier. With time, you become more motivated, able, and driven.
students working in team

Mentorship Along the Way

If you’re facing big resistance and you’re having trouble resolving that yourself, reach out to a mentor to help you release that resistance.
Sometimes overcoming resistance can require the help of a competent professional. The mentoring process actually goes much quicker than you think. And that will help you to release that resistance so you can get back into action very effectively.
The techniques that your professional mentor will use help you release that resistance. You’ll get results faster than doing it by yourself.
If you have any questions on this article, feel free to reach out. The first call is free to talk to me and look forward to talking with you soon.