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DO Sweat the Small Stuff

"No one made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little."

Disclaimer: If you're already highly organized and a model of efficiency for the rest of us, you needn't read any further. However, if you're like me, read on!

"Don't sweat the small stuff." Good advice, right? I think so. In spite of how I've titled this article I agree that we shouldn't let little things get in the way of potentially big accomplishments. Don't let little irritations become major conflicts. Or, to quote a popular cliché, "don't make mountains out of molehills."

However, don't underestimate the value of small stuff either. Little things can make a big difference. Years ago I read a quote attributed to British philosopher Edmund Burke that said, "No one made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." I wrote it down and put it on my office wall where it stayed for a long time, reminding me of the importance of using even small things, especially small amounts of time. We seldom waste an entire day but may waste its equivalent over the course of a week or month by letting minutes at a time slip by.

Sometimes we (personal confession taking place here) avoid starting a task because there doesn't seem to be enough time to do anything of value. But what could you do if you stopped letting the perceived limitations of small amounts of time keep you from starting. 10 minutes each day over the course of a work week is . . . drum-roll please . . . almost an hour! What could you accomplish in an hour even if it's broken up into small segments of time?

My wife published a helpful book on organizing last spring titled "2 Minutes or Less." I highly recommend you buy a copy for yourself and everyone on your Christmas gift list. You can find it here on Amazon, 2 Minutes or Less: Retrain Your Brain to Reclaim Your Time, Your Spaces, and Your Life. Her tips are great ways to clear out the clutter of small tasks to allow you the time to tackle the larger, and presumably more important tasks. It's really amazing what you can get done in those small pieces of time.

However, with just a few more minutes you can accomplish some of those more important tasks a few steps at a time. The trick for me is to use a timer. I tend to be discouraged by only having a few spare minutes between tasks and am reluctant to start a new project or task unless there's enough time to actually finish it. But when I use the timer app on my phone and decide to work on something for just a few minutes, I'm always, without exception, pleased with the results.

So, I hope you'll give it a try, ten minutes at a time. Let me know how it goes.

By the way, here's an excellent article on this very subject. Crazy 10 Minute Rule

All the best,


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