Mini Goals: Top 10 Ways to Do a Little Each Day

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Are you more likely to do a little each day, or work in less frequent longer blocks of time? As a high-achieving, goal oriented person, I have a default tendency to believe if it’s not big, it doesn’t count. It’s why I love the idea of mini goals, and this quote from author Gretchen Rubin:

By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished. We tend to overestimate how much we can accomplish in an hour or a week and underestimate how much we can accomplish in a month or a year, by doing just a little bit each day.

Gretchen Rubin
Quote from Gretchen Rubin about doing a little each day, aka mini goals

10 mini goals to do a little each day

1. Set a timer for 15 minutes, and work on one task.

Don’t stop to do anything else until the timer goes off. This can be much harder than it seems, as there are so.many.distractions around the house (or office). Anyone else channel If You Give A Mouse A Cookie a little too often? I’m always amazed at just how much can be accomplished in 15 minutes of focused attention.

2. Create a project plan, and break it down into mini goals.

This one can take quite a few mini blocks of time. Sometimes projects feel overwhelming because they aren’t broken down into bite sized pieces.

First, make a list of an entire project/task/etc.

Second, break it down into the smallest chunks that you can.

After you have that, it’s so easy to pull up the list and use any minor block of time to do the one next task on the list.

Before you know it, you’ll have finished and be on to the next project!

3. Use commercials during TV (don’t skip them!) to make two minutes of progress.

What can be done in two minutes? So many things!

Respond to an email

Update your Facebook page or share an Instagram post. I am notorious for scrolling and viewing but not actually sharing anything. Introvert much?

Unload the dishwasher (Yeah, this one will probably take a few commercial breaks, but I bet you could get it done in one show!)

Empty and repack a purse or work bag

Pick up the living room

Have more ideas? Share them in the comments!

4. Make a list of things you can do in 5-15 minute blocks of time, and where you can do them.

This is one of those one-time setup tasks that pays dividends over a lifetime. We all have so many small chunks of time spent waiting: waiting for meetings to start, waiting to pick up the kids, waiting in line.

Use those small chunks of time!

A few ideas to kick-start your list:

Make a grocery list while waiting for a meeting to start, or waiting in line just about anywhere. We use the app Our Groceries, which I love primarily for the fact that it automatically syncs between my phone and my husband’s phone. I’m sure we could accomplish the same thing with Evernote or another tool that’s not single use, but we’ve used this one for years and why change what isn’t broken, right?!

Read a few pages in a book. I love the Kindle app and Libby app on my phone for this very reason. I’ve read whole novels in pockets of time.

5. Keep blank cards in your handbag and use snippets of time to write and send cards. Or text messages. Or emails.

I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who sends handwritten cards and is thoughtful like that. I’m not. Partly because it always seems like such a Big Thing. It doesn’t have to! As someone for whom words of affirmation is a big deal, I’m working to be much more intentional about sending quick notes of appreciation.

6. Review your list of goals or Action Plan daily.

They are posted in a place you can read and review every day, right? This will keep you motivated to actively work toward your goals, and top of mind as you go throughout your day.

7. Create a list of goals or priorities and break them down into mini goals.

While goal planning is often done by setting aside a day, or several hour chunk of time to plan out major projects, it can be done in smaller chunks of time as well.

Start by making a list of potential goal or priorities, and work on it in the pockets of time you have until you feel confident in the list. Then use the strategies in #2 to break down each goal into manageable projects and tasks.

8. Review your calendar and block out regular, consistent blocks of time to work on priority projects.

The length of time matters less than the ability to be consistent with the time. Follow through with using the scheduled time blocks to work on the task at hand. I have recurring reminders for 5pm every day to review my daily to do list and update for the next day. I also use that time to look ahead at the next week or so and block out longer chunks of time for project work.

9. Cross off a to do.

Pick one thing from your to-do list, or one thing that someone has asked you to do, and simply say no.

Cross it off the list. Doesn’t that feel amazing?! Time saved!

10. Make a don’t do list.

When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. If you have a hard time saying no, like me, then having a pre-set list of things you won’t do can save time in both the decision making process as well as the activities themselves.

This post is part of 31 Timesaving Tools, Tips & Templates, read the rest of the series here.  

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