April 2015 by Gedeon Maheux

Take Baby Steps

This is a guest post by Gedeon Maheux. Ged is a co-founder and designer at the Iconfactory. They design & develop apps, icons, user interfaces and branding for clients the world over.

Having trouble starting a new, large intimidating project at work? Here's my advice - take baby steps. Part of the problem with starting on a task is that it can often seem insurmountable. This leads to delays getting started and pretty soon you find yourself behind schedule and under the gun. The trick is to pick one small part of the overall task and start there, slowly chipping away, piece by piece on what has to be done until there is nothing left to do.

I'm reminded of the Winter Warlock from Rankin & Bass' classic TV special Santa Claus is Coming to Town. In the story, the evil wizard wants to change his outlook on life from bad to good, but he doesn't know how to start, it just seems overwhelming to him. The young Kris Kringle sings to him to "Put one foot in front of the other and soon you are walkin' across the floor!" It sounds completely hokey and cheesy, but I swear it's the truth and it really is a great life lesson.

By breaking big tasks down into a bunch of smaller, less time consuming ones, you trick yourself into lowering the barrier to entry. Like most people, I find that I'm fine once I get going on a project, it's just the getting started part that is really difficult. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, baby steps are a great way to jump that first hurdle and get yourself moving.