2 min read

Sweat the small stuff

Consider some complex issue in your studies or life.

Instead of tackling it in its entirety, find one small element of it and solve that part completely. Understand the subissue and its solution backwards and forwards. Understand all its connections and implications. Consider this small piece from many points of view and in great detail. Choose a subproblem small enough that you can give it this level of attention. Only later should you consider how your efforts could help solve the larger issue.

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking

[11:01 AM]

Okay. Here’s my big problem: I’m not doing the work I should be doing. But man that’s such a big challenge. So let’s think of a specific example.

Right now, I should be working on the quickstart guide.

Ok maybe working on is too big and not specific. Right now, I should open the quickstart guide document…

But I didn’t want to do that. Why not? Because I was thinking of doing this overwhelming thing, “working”

So instead I’ll just open the document and read a bit. Then maybe I can type three sentences for one thought. That’s easy. Anyone can do that.

I just need to remind myself that all I need is to start. Just start. It doesn’t have to be hard. I’ll just write 3 sentences. That’s easy. Anyone can write three sentences.

I’ll do that now.

[Update: 11:33AM, 32 minutes after]

Done. Damn man that was easy. Why’d it take so long!

Writing this for three reasons:

1. To remind myself that this is a useful exercise and that I should repeat it in the future

2. To encourage you that you are not alone. Laziness is a feature, not a bug. It’s not you, it’s your animal brain.

3. To recommend that you read The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking. I bought it in Kindle, and had to buy it in print for easy referencing too. Finished before, but didn’t apply. Reading again. Definitely one of my favorite, most underrated books. Read if you want to improve your thinking, learning, and creativity. It will help you think of execution ideas and take action too.