Breaking tasks down into subtasks will help you to see large tasks as more approachable and doable, and reduces your propensity to procrastinate or defer tasks—because you simply don’t know where to begin. Here’s what you need to do…
Maybe this has happened to you: You’re looking at your to-do list, and there you see it: That same task is still there!
The task is important—you really should do it… but it just seems easier to do less-important tasks and check them off your list.
So, what does that mean? Are you lazy? Probably not. But you are procrastinating.
Here’s why you just can’t seem to finish that task:
- You haven’t figured out what that very next step needs to be.
- You’re unclear about the specific next action you need to take.
Why? Because the task hasn’t been broken down into smaller subtasks.
A subtask is an action that must be completed in order to complete a larger and more complex task.
Here’s what that means…
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Some tasks are simple tasks.
A simple task is an uncomplicated activity, a single unit of work. It’s usually completed in just one or two steps.
For example: turning on a light. You flip the switch—and it’s done—task completed.
A simple task doesn’t take forever to complete. It isn’t related or interconnected with any other task. Once you’ve done it, you check it off your task list and you can essentially forget about it—except to turn the light off. Simple!
However, some tasks are more complex and need to be broken down into smaller, actionable subtasks. If you don’t break it down into subtasks, you lose clarity about what to do next.
For example: turning on a light. You flip the light switch, and nothing happens—that means you have to change the lightbulb. Now your simple one-step task has become a multi-step task!
The task now involves a series of subtasks that need to be completed: getting a ladder, finding someone to hold the ladder, finding the right lightbulb, climbing the ladder, etc.
A complex task is a series of subtasks that build on each other—like climbing the ladder, you have to go up one rung at a time—a task is completed after accomplishing all the subtasks.
Confusion occurs when you fail to break a task down into smaller, simpler tasks. This leaves you wondering where to start and confused about what steps to take next.
So now, if you’re unclear about the specific next action you need to take to complete a task, here’s what you need to do: Be micro-ambitious!
Think: Smaller subtasks!
Just focus on the very next subtask you need to complete. You don’t have to complete the whole task, just the very next step.
Here is how to add subtasks to your tasks: