The Quick Win Method

Do you often struggle to get things done?

If you find you can’t get started, or don’t know where to even begin, this article will help you overcome inertia and get going on what matters to you.

Today there will be things you have to do and things you want to do.

The ‘want to’ list usually takes care of itself.  But how do you tackle the ‘have to’ things?

One strategy that I find really helpful is what I call the Quick Win method.

It’s really simple - here’s how to do it:

Make a list of what you want to accomplish.  Be realistic, basing it on the time and resources you estimate you’ll have at your disposal. This is really important.  You can only do as much as your available time allows.

When you get a block of time today, sit down with your list and do whatever you feel like doing for as long as you feel like doing it.

Sometimes this will mean you pick a relatively easy task and see it through to completion.  

Other times you be working on a project (i.e. anything requires more than one action).  In this case, unless it has to be done urgently, do a chunk of it.  Anything is better than nothing.  Do as much as you feel like doing.

Whether it’s two hours or two minutes, it doesn’t matter.  What’s important is the fact that you do something about everything on your list. 

I’ve used the Quick Win method for years now.  It’s a habit that I’m glad I formed because it works for two reasons:

1. Crossing off something on your list creates a sense of satisfaction and a desire to keep going - ‘Okay, what’s next?’

2. Nothing is too hard.  The knowledge that you can do as much as you want takes away the ‘threat’ that your mind feels.

Example:

This is a to-do list for a typical Saturday at home.  It’s in no particular order, and I estimate I’ve got eight hours at my disposal (a luxury!)

  • Chop firewood
  • Post letter
  • Help son with homework
  • Plant hedge
  • Check email
  • Check bank balances
  • Deal with paperwork
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Fix shed roof

Everything on my list for the day has a degree of urgency, and it’s all important (otherwise it wouldn’t be on the list!)

The real question is, how do I feel about doing the things on the list?

If you don’t know where to begin, or you don’t even want to begin, start with something easy.  So, for the above list, I would probably start by taking two minutes to post the letter.

The list now looks like this:

  • Chop firewood
  • Post letter
  • Help son with homework
  • Plant hedge
  • Check email
  • Check bank balances
  • Deal with paperwork
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Fix shed roof

The physical act of crossing off ‘Post letter’ is the completion of the first Quick Win.

Ideally you will tackle your tasks in one block of time.  That way you can keep the momentum rolling and move straight on from one task to the next.

The principle works just as well for a day at a desk as it does for a day in the great outdoors.

When doesn’t it work?

  • When you are up against it.  If you have something urgent and important to do you’ll do it - motivation won’t be a problem.  
  • When you feel your time accountable to someone else.

Other then that, the Quick Win method is a good way to get started with your to-do list each day.

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Quick Win Method