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Zack Moy
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On Getting Started

Prose2 min read

My personal To Do list has grown exponentially over the years. I've tried a half dozen apps to help manage everything, various notebooks and methodologies to help, and the occasional quadruple-shot-of-espresso to jumpstart action. And still, despite these efforts, the List grows ever larger.

To be clear, it's not because I have more things to do than the average person. It's because I've become obsessed with breaking out my life into bite-sized chunks. And oftentimes, those chunks are too big to chew. These bites snowball until they sit on my shoulders and narrow my posture.

They are constantly looming over me. Sometimes I pick up a surge of energy and tackle the top items. Other times, I'll focus on a key area: cleaning the apartment, settling my finances, buying necessities. Maybe I even reach Inbox Zero. I tend to fight off the To Do List Anxiety by making things worse and adding even more. Nothing helps. Nothing works. There's no end in sight.

Over the last 3 days, I've tried a different approach: start multiple tasks at the same time. I don't know why I tried this, or how it works, but it's completely unlocked something for me. Starting one item by itself doesn't mean it will even get completed, and it certainly doesn't promise more in succession. But starting two at the same time? It made me focus entirely on starting.

To clean out my closet was like excavating ancient catacombs. It was on my list for over a year. I also needed to reorganize my bathroom and take care of some financial preparation. I started by taking all cleaning supplies out of my closet. Then I changed some decor in the bathroom. Then I opened my laptop to research a few things about Living Trusts.

Suddenly, I was starting a half dozen tasks from the depths of my To Do list. Before the evening was over, my papers were prepared, my bathroom pristine, my closet reorganized and new. Shiny, almost. I'm sure this approach is well-known, but I have never thought purposely to start with chaos in order to end with tranquility.

If you need me, I'll be staring at my new spacious closet.

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