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Downers Grove, IL 60515


From Piles to Smiles® organizing and productivity service provides personalized, non-judgmental, professional coaching and hands-on organizing assistance that can help you claim control of your hectic personal and business life.

Break It Down and Get It Done


Organizing and productivity ideas to help you experience the simplicity, harmony and freedom of being organized and in control.

Break It Down and Get It Done

Sue Becker

Ever have one of those days when there are lots of things you know you should be doing but you just can’t seem to move forward on any of them? Me too – especially during non-winter months, when I’d rather be outside than doing any of the many things it takes to run my business. Here are some ideas to make moving forward easier and help you achieve more success in getting things done.

Just as mosaics are made up of individual tiles, projects are made up of individual tasks. The first step in moving projects forward is identifying the (sometimes many) discrete steps – the tiles, so to speak – that will lead to completion. This will give you a clear, specific activity to focus on, and eliminate (or at least minimize) the overwhelm you may otherwise feel when you focus only on the entire mosaic. 

 For example, let’s say you want to create a budget. No matter how worthwhile this endeavor may be, it can seem overwhelming in its enormity and the number of hours it will take to complete. Breaking it down into bite-size pieces, or even smaller nibbles, can be the key to taking action. Here are some possibilities:

  •  Pull receipts from wallet
  • Find envelope of last month’s receipts
  • Sort receipts by category (groceries, dining out, clothes, etc.)
  • Add up expenditures by category
  • Etc.

You’ll notice that each item listed is a distinct action, a stand-alone step. You’ll also note that some of these steps can be done quickly, while others may take quite some time – assigning time estimates to each task will let you know how much time you’ll want to have available before starting. Or, it can alert you to the fact that it may take several sessions to finish a single step.

The beauty of this approach is that you’ll know exactly what you need to do and approximately how long it will take. This clarity will allow you to choose what you’re in the mood for and/or what you have time for. Alternatively, you may choose to work on something for a certain amount of time per session (e.g., in 30-minute chunks) until you complete it. Whether you work on tasks until they’re completed, or chip away for set amounts of time, you’ll certainly experience more success moving things forward when you follow the method of breaking things down.

I’d love to hear what projects you’re trying to tackle, and how you manage to break them down to move them forward.