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Small Tasks - The Key To Success And Happiness

04 May 2022

Find out how dividing goals and everyday routines into small tasks can make your life easier, happier, and more productive.

We often set ourselves enormous goals and end up being intimidated by them. In the end these goals are either achieved partially or not at all. This propensity to think big, but forget about planning out steps to achieve the end result is what leads to poor productivity and subsequent unhappiness.

This blog post will explain the importance of breaking down your major goals into smaller tasks. First, I’ll show how dividing goals into small tasks can be good for your productivity and mental health. Then I’ll briefly outline how to effectively do this yourself!

The Productivity Gains Of Small Tasks

It is easier identify the path ahead

Unfortunately our brains are limited – it’s hard for us to constantly see the big picture, not to mention remember all its intricate parts and details. Studies show that our working memory capacity enables us to remember around 3 to 5 things at a time. Anything more than that is bound to fall out of your brain.

This doesn’t mean that we can’t remember things and get them done. It’s just that it takes time that could have been used more productively. To make it better, break down your goals into smaller tasks and keep a to-do list! BePrime can help with both those things.

Small tasks provide specificity

Goals are great for outlining a vision of where you want to be, but they are not particularly good yardsticks to actually measure achievement or success. A goal like “Reach B2 proficiency of German by the end of 2023” is a good SMART goal, but its potential can be expanded by setting more detailed milestones along the way.

As studies show, specificity correlates with performance. The more specific the goal or the task, the better individuals will perform. With this in mind the more detail (i.e. small tasks) you can get out of your big goal, the higher the possibility of success and productivity.

Smaller tasks are easier to review and receive feedback on

Imagine working on your goal for months only to understand things are not going the right way. It would be both frustrating and counterproductive. 

A set of small tasks leads to regular outcomes that can be evaluated by others. This allows for valuable feedback which has positive effects on performance and motivation both in short and long term. 

After receiving feedback, review and adjustments come far easier. Methodically working with a set of small and tangible tasks instead of chaotically handling the big goal is always the better choice. For more on goal review and adjustment, check out this blog post!

Small tasks do wonders to motivation

As humans (especially in the 21st century) we want to see good and fast progress. And we want to see it often. Goals don’t work that way. Small tasks do.

That’s why breaking down major goals into small tasks, writing them down, and checking them off the list once they are done is a wonderful way to keep yourself going until the goal is achieved. Each time that happens you’ll get a sweet dopamine rush which you’ll want to repeat until this or any other goal is achieved.

The Mental Health Benefits

More control, less stress

Simply working to achieve a goal without a detailed plan or a set of actions will be unorganized and chaotic leading to a rather stressful work and home environment. We’ve written extensively about the effect stress has on us. Spoiler alert – it’s very bad for your mental and physical health. The longer you suffer from it, the worse it becomes.

If you have a clear plan with a set of small tasks that have to be finished to reach the end result, the uncertainty, confusion, and chaos dissipates. Small tasks don’t just create an illusion of control, but it actually gives it back to you.

Improved focus

As we already discussed – you can only remember 3 to 5 things at a given time. Without a clear plan and a to-do list, your head becomes a giant mishmash of thoughts, ideas, plans, tasks, ambitions etc. We know for certain that physical clutter has negative impacts on mental health, but long exposure to mental clutter also doesn’t do wonders to performance, quality of life, and mental wellbeing.

Clear and organized thinking reduces stress and keeps your brain functioning in top-notch quality. Think of setting and writing down small tasks as mental housekeeping.

Happier life

Small tasks are key to success when it comes to achieving goals. But small tasks can also have a therapeutic purpose even if not connected to an ulterior goal

The relaxing function of small tasks and household chores was discovered by many during the pandemic. When stuck inside without much to do, keeping yourself busy was a great way to deal with uncertainty, regain control, and bring a good endorphin boost when it is lacking.

We live in troubling times when one crisis is replaced by another. Social media and the 24/7 news cycle are doing their best to keep our attention, often at the expense of our mental health. All this can end up being extremely anxiety inducing. Small tasks like reorganizing your books, dusting off the shelves, or washing the dishes will not solve these major problems. But they will definitely help you get in the right headspace to cope with the worldly challenges.

How To Define Your Small Tasks

Summing up what I outlined before, small tasks can:

  • be tied to a larger goal;
  • arise from your to-do list;
  • be spontaneous actions.

Finishing tasks from any of these groups will score valuable well-being and happiness points. However, when it comes to performance and productivity, we are primarily concerned with the first group – small tasks that derive from a larger goal.

To define these goal-oriented tasks I suggest doing the following:

  • 1) Establish the big picture by clearly stating the start and end positions.
  • 2) According to your SMART goal, set clear milestones along the way.
  • 3) Define the main actions that have to be finished to reach each milestone.
  • 4) Chop these main actions into smaller and smaller actions until you have a logical sequence of small tasks.
  • 5) Set deadlines for each of the milestones, their main actions, and the related small tasks.

To visualize this simple approach imagine the difference between trying to climb a mountain using a rope or a ladder. Sure, you can pull yourself up in a single, exhausting stretch. Or you can have a ladder with solid, defined, and well-paced steps that will ease your path to goal achievement.

In a nutshell – keep dividing your goal into smaller and small parts until the end result no longer seems daunting and unachievable!

Keeping track of all this may be hard, but the BePrime app will make it all a breeze. With BePrime you’ll be able to write down your goals and tasks and tie them together with the relevant notes, finances, and deadlines in one comprehensive yet easy to use tool! Don’t wait any longer to Be Prime!

Author: Lote Steina

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Life doesen't have a do-over.
Commit to it! BePrime!
Life doesen't have a do-over.
Commit to it! BePrime!