The First Minute

Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 14:50
Stopwatch held in hand.

Once I'm engaged and immersed in an activity, I rarely have difficulty keeping the momentum going. It's the initiation that I find most challenging. To combat this, I've been experimenting with a new strategy when creating todo lists. Rather than just leave it as the generic (and sometimes overwhelming) task, I write down the smallest possible actions I could take and complete within one minute. Often, it's so embarrassingly easy and small that I can start taking action immediately, but that's not the goal. The goal is that when I'm ready to switch from planning mode into execution, I can immediately read the task and not have to think about the very next step to get started.

You'd be surprised how effective this can be, particularly when starting a new task late in the day when fatigue can start to set in and make it a challenge to keep going. Just being able to start is usually enough to maintain momentum when energy starts to dip.

Try it out. What important task do you need to accomplish tomorrow? And what are the very first steps you need to take in the first minute to get going?

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: Chief Product Officer of DRUD Tech. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.