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Conquer a Daunting Project In 30 Minutes Or Less

Do you have a project or task in front of you that seems daunting,- and it makes you feel overwhelmed just thinking about it?
(Such as creating a new website, starting a newsletter, writing your first ebook, planning a speaking engagement, etc.)

Here’s my favorite method for turning a “scary project” into a manageable project.

Its very simple: take out a blank piece of paper, and take 20-30 minutes to break the project down into manageable steps.
You can either do this as a list of steps or as a mindmap.

After you do this, your project transforms from being murky and intimidating to doable and just a list of clear steps.
(By the way, this is an extremely effective method, so don’t be deceived by the simplicity of it.)

Ill give you an example.

Lets say you want to start an email newsletter.
I just did 20 minutes of brainstorming, and here are some of the basic steps that would be needed.

– Sign up for an email list management software, such as Aweber or Constant Contact.
– Determine the focus of your newsletter
– Decide on your target audience (the tribe you want to communicate to)
– Develop a schedule for how often you want to send it out
– Choose a name for your newsletter (optional)
– Decide on HTML or text
– Create your first 3 newsletter topics

Now when you review this list, doesn’t it seem like each one of these tasks is really doable?
And each task could be done in an hour or less, don’t you think?
Which means that you could get the whole project of creating an email newsletter done in one day, or definitely in one week.

So what daunting projects have you been putting off lately?
(specifically ones that could help you grow your business and attract clients)

Pick a high priority project, and give my process a try!

Which project are you “breaking down”? Does your project suddenly seem a lot more manageable?
Please leave me a note below, I’d love to hear from you.



  1. Good advice!

  2. Great to be reminded of this Bill. Thanks for all you do for your tribe.

  3. Hey Bill this post stirs my passion and not for the reasons you may think. I go deep into this very topic in one of the chapters of my upcoming book and here’s why:

    The brainstorming mind/ mapping advice you give is spot as usual, for people who have some inkling of what they’re doing however, I go deeper when working with beginners in the online space and the reason is due to the seldom mentioned ” planning fallacy” which causes people to severely underestimate how long a task will actually take.

    For example setting up an opt in form sounds like one task and as a result people get hell bent on the number 1. It’s 1 task its 1 step its 1 thing on my to do list…… but it isn’t.

    Example: Depending on the email management system you chose, I’m using mail chimp as my example; it can take 23 steps to complete this 1 task in its entirety, Granted these tasks are not difficult in isolation but they are many in number and there in lies the problem. People don’t know 1 task equals many steps.

    Having an unrealistic goal is what drowns people in overwhelm and thereby creates the dreaded “planning fallacy”. They thought it was 1 thing but it wasn’t.

    Here’s some great news, once people know this and understand that realistically, 1 overall task as described, may require the implementation of 23 individual steps to complete, sometimes more!

    That’s not bad news: OMG the relief when you know up front what’s required, is immense. It dispenses with the “planning fallacy” and tells newbies exactly what’s required of them. And it eliminates the “you don’t know what you don’t know” conundrum. Because very quickly you do know, provided you get the right information and the right tools up front and learn how to implement these..

    I see it all the time, the disappointment when people buy a fabulous high ticket programme full of advanced or intermediate strategies, that they cant implement because they have nothing ready and nothing in place, because nobody told them what they had to have in place FIRST.

    Hell I made that mistake myself and see it being done every day.

    People go for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow before they’ve made a pot.

    If you’re a beginner and this may seem a tad obvious, learn in this order. beginner > intermediate > advanced. If you do it in the right order you wont be a beginner for long.

    You wouldn’t build a house without a foundation in place first, so why do it with your precious new business?

    C’mon people learn the basics ” properly” and you’ll leap ahead in to time.

    Do it in the wrong order and you’ll be forever circling back because something will always be missing!

  4. Heather Fox says:

    Thanks Bill,
    An excellent process to help make the unmanageable manageable!.

  5. Shankar says:

    Hello Bill,

    Thanks for the tip.
    I started this process about a month ago. Perhaps the idea was in one of your earlier mails. I’ve found it extremely useful.

  6. Sapher says:

    Thanks for the advice !

  7. Funny how great minds think alike. LOL! I just shared my story about how I break things down into small chunks…very similar to your approach. http://www.chi-to-be.com/how-not-to-choke-on-an-elephant#comment-2597111442

  8. Great tip Bill. Thanks! My big project is creating and launching my first ever program. It’s all about helping Fab-Preneurs get comfy on-camera and make videos for their biz. So I’ve got a LOT of content to create, videos to shoot, marketing to rock.

    Will give your technique a try later today.

    Thanks again!

  9. Carl Leighton says:

    Hello Bill, Its Monday morning and although I had been thinking about what I would be doing this week suddenly every thing got murky. I saw your article and about to put it work. I feel more confident having read it.
    Thanks and God bless you.

  10. Bill, I often _do_ start a major project with mindmapping. I use software that lets me come back and add to the map as the project acquires focus. I add notes. I use mindmapping all the time.

    But there are times when something foggy and unclear–and I hadn’t thought about starting a mindmap at that time, just to see what’s on my mind. Even if it took a second mindmap, they’re fun, easy, and a great resource. Thanks for opening my mind to new ways to use one of my favorite tools.

  11. Robyn says:

    This is awesome information Bill, I’ve just figured out what to do with my low end product development to turning it into a premium package.. you are too good.. it’s now so clear and not overwhelming anymore… much thanks and god bless you..

  12. Philip says:

    Hi Bill
    Thanks fort your work.
    I know that this is something I want but the problem for me is what I call getting a start. I want to work with someone like you but until I can get out of the financial hole I can’t afford you. So it seems impossible to get started.
    If I were to have a coach like you, I would be able to afford you but I can’t so I am stuck.
    Maybe you might talk about this in a future article.
    Thanks so much

  13. Right on target Bill. I was feeling so overwhelmed when I started my new website Women Be Empowered this January 2013. Well, in mapping like you mentioned, the project became more manageable and doable. I did my 2 free teleseminars in February. I am now getting ready to do my virtual 5-wk programme.

    Thank you Bill for sharing.

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