Saturday, May 19, 2018

Small wins

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt stuck at a problem in your main line of work? Whether its on your job or the a important side project that you are working on? I have and its a shitty feeling. You feel like you've made no progress. You feel like nothing is going right. The antidote for these times are to get some small wins.

I could spend 3 hours in the morning researching and trying out different solutions to my coding problem and still be stuck in the same place. Although I've technically made progress in finding out solutions that don't work. It feels like I wasted the morning. That's when I need a small win. A small win is something you can do and accomplish in a short enough time frame. It should be bite-size where its large enough to be seen as a step forward but small enough to accomplish maybe within an hour. The win can be another feature of the project you are working on, but it doesn't even have to be of the same project. A small win for me would actually be taking a break from the computer and doing a tough workout. I'll know that at least if I can move my self forward in some area of life I'll feel better. And once you accomplish a small win, it doesn't stop there. We are mentally wired to keep the momentum and seek greater challenges.

Which goes into the why starting rituals and making your bed are so important. Its tough to start on a complex, hard project. Its also hard to start in general. But its easier to start on something simple, its easier to get a small win. And those wins build up and that's the essence of getting things done.

Its certainly a mental trick. There is no reason why I should feel a bit defeated after working hard on a problem but ending up stuck. I've made progress. Yet appearances are everything, and it can be mentally defeating sometimes. If you find yourself in this situation, its a good sign that you should take a break, maybe look for a small win elsewhere to get your momentum going. Then get back at it.