While a lot of the coaching and free-advice giving I do is about making sure that you spend at least 15 minutes per day on the creative work that makes you happy, this bit is about attending to all those dumb, pesky details that can make your world feel like a dumb, pesky place to be.

For example, let’s take my client, Kevin.  Kevin is a an actor – one of those good-looking-California-surfer types.  He’s a hard-working member of a Los Angeles theatre company, and he occasionally books television and film work, usually playing a good-looking-California-surfer type.

Here’s Kevin’s list of dumb, pesky things:

  • Get the car washed

  • Clear off desk

  • Take “Opening Night” outfit to the dry cleaners

  • Clear out the nightstand drawer

  • Scrub the tile grout in the tub

  • Call Angela – her birthday was ages ago!

  • Check DWP website about drip irrigation program

  • Put scuba gear in garage – get it out of the bedroom

  • Throw out holey underwear

  • Wipe down patio furniture

Now, how long do you suppose these items had been on Kevin’s list?

Here’s Kevin’s embarrassing secret: nothing on that list was less than three months old, and some of them (nightstand drawer) had been on his to-do list for over five years.  We can all point and snicker and laugh, but be honest, how many days or weeks or months have your to-do items been hanging around?

Now part of me wants to say to Kevin, “Look, clearly you don’t really give two hoots about getting your car washed, so why not just cross it off your list entirely and move on to a more interesting problem?”

But the fact is, it bothers him.

None of it bothers him very much, but all of them bother him a little.

So every morning Kevin wakes up, looks at his overflowing nightstand drawer and thinks that he should have cleaned that out already.  Then he goes to the shower and cringes at the sight of his grubby tile grout.  Then he gets dressed, rooting around for intact underwear, trips over the scuba gear, walks past his messy desk on which, somewhere, is his friend Angela’s phone number and he walks past the suit that’s waiting to go to the dry cleaners and he exits his home and notices the dried-out lawn and the grimy patio furniture and he gets in his dirty car and drives to work.

The poor man hasn’t been awake for 45 minutes and he’s already feeling terrible about himself.

That’s why I want you to take care of these niggling things.  Not because anyone cares if your car is dirty, but because it’s affecting your self-esteem, and it’s affecting your ability to believe in yourself.  “How can I start the project of my dreams when I can’t even find matching socks!”  Well, perhaps you can’t.

So make a list of ten little things that:

  • you know need doing
  • you know that if you did them it would make positive difference in your life
  • you’ve been putting off for some mysterious reason

You must keep this list to truly “little” things.  Things that cost
less than $50.  Things that take less than one hour to complete.
Things that might even be considered “errands.”

Now, schedule some time to complete these tasks.  Might be 15 minutes a day, might be one whole day devoted to the whole list, might be delegating these tasks (yes!  delegate!)

Let me know how it feels.

I’d love to hear what niggling little thing you’ve been putting off, and how it felt to finally get it done.