Small with focus

It is likely that your long term goal has some very large numbers in it. Suppose your goal was to write a novel. According to quora, the average novel has 5,300 sentences. I will be generous and round that up to a nice 6,000. The thought of writing 6,000 sentences is enough to give most people pause and stop them from ever getting started.

6,000 is indeed a large number. The human brain was never designed to handle large numbers. When you gaze at the sky, you don’t immediately think: I can see 50,000 stars tonight. That’s 3,000 less than last night. After a couple of hundreds, it becomes harder and harder to visualise a number. Have you ever tried visualising what a billion trees would look like? Not easy, is it? That’s why we invented calculators to handle large operations.

A googol
How do all the zeroes make you feel?

Unfortunately, this particular aspect of the human brain can lead to procrastination. The difficulty in visualising large numbers makes it difficult to have a clear idea of what the end result of the goal looks like. A fuzzy goal is difficult to achieve because you can’t plan the next step.

The best way to achieve a goal is to work with smaller numbers. 30 is a number anyone can visualise. I know what 30 bottles look like. I can envision 30 pairs of shoes in a row. What about 30 sentences? If you wrote only 30 sentences each day, you would hit your goal of 6,000 in less than 200 days. 30 and 200 are both numbers we can easily grasp and deal with.

A notebook with handwritten words
Done for the day

30 sentences may not make a novel but 30 sentences written each day for 200 days do. Productivity comes from doing small things in a focused way. Pick your small number and focus on that.

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