Take small actions consistently to go 1099

You ever plan to have guests over and then the day of you’re frantically cleaning the house?

Well, that’s how most people, including myself, attempt to make progress on big projects.

I get a burst of motivation and then make a lot of effort over a day or two and then…I lose motivation and stop.

It’s not a great way to get things done, particularly, important goals.

I recently started a new habit of getting up at 4:45 AM to

a) Accomplish important project tasks

b) Work out

I get up so early because I want to wake up my two year old daughter at about 7:30, so the schedule usually goes something like this:

4:45 AM - 5:00 AM - Put on workout clothes, make coffee, get the computer booted up

5:00 AM - 6:00 AM - Do one task for one of my projects

6:00 AM - 7:00 AM - Gym or run

7:00 AM - 7:30 AM - Shower/ get dressed

It’s tough to wake up early but it is very satisfying to get my most important tasks done for the day.

The other nice part about the limited time window in the morning is that it forces you to break down your bigger projects into smaller chunks, things you can do in an hour or less.

For example, I had to figure out how to set up this e-mail newsletter using new e-mail software.

I knew I could figure it out, but it’s just an annoying, slightly vague task.

To make sure I made progress, I broke it down into steps like

  • Sign up for an account
  • Click on different sections of the website
  • Create a landing page
  • Send a test e-mail to self

Each item on the task list was manageable and not intimidating.

I didn’t get that “ugh I can’t believe I have to do this” feeling due to the ambiguity.

Similarly, if your to-do list has a task called “figure out how to go 1099” you’re probably not going to make consistent progress.

To make progress, I recommend blocking off a 30-45 minute window, and breaking down ambiguous tasks into something you can do in that time block.

For example, say you have a big task like “network your way to a 1099 gig.”

You could break it down into tasks like:

  • Make a list of name of co-workers from previous companies
  • Make a list of names of previous clients
  • Look up e-mail of previous co/workers or clients
  • Draft e-mail to send to one previous client
  • Come up with three questions for coffee meeting
  • Schedule coffee meeting with co-worker
  • Send follow up e-mail

If you do one of those items each day, you’ll make quite a bit of progress over a week or two.

Compare that to procrastinating for months because the task seems too big, unapproachable, and ambiguous.

Finding your first 1099 gig can be broken down into lost of small micro-tasks that you can do each day.

If you do one small thing every day for a year, my unscientific guess is that there is a near 99% chance you’ll have a 1099 project by the end of it.

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