You’re a busy business owner, and sometimes it can be difficult to find the time to work on your projects, no matter how important you consider them. You should definitely try to carve out larger blocks of time for your activities, especially if they’re important to you.

But you may also find that you can get more done by using micro-actions.

What are micro-actions?

They’re small, simple actions that you can do in 5-15 minutes that will nevertheless give you progress on whatever you’re working on.

To get started taking micro-actions, grab a sheet of paper or open a document on your computer for each project you’re working on. Now, write down the main milestones for the project.

Then break those milestones down into smaller actions, and smaller actions, until you have a list of actions that can be done in a very short amount of time. These might be things like “Type 100 words” or “Outline presentation” or “Research graphics to use”.

Chances are, the list will seem intimidatingly long — but that’s all right, because each action is really small.

Now, you’ll want to put the list somewhere where it will be easily accessible by you at all times. This can either be in a notebook that you carry on you all the time, or if you have smartphone, an app like Evernote or Springpad (both available on iOS and Android) might be the ticket for you. These apps let you sync documents from the Internet to your smartphone, meaning that you can access your checklist anywhere you have Internet or phone access.

The key “to-do” here is that, any time you have a few minutes between other actions or projects, you can look at your list and choose one micro-action that you can complete in the “extra” time you have facing you.

One of the few problems that can come up with micro-actions is the overwhelming amount of choices as to which action or project to work on next. If you’re not careful, you can spend the whole five spare minutes that you have available waffling over which action to take, or which project to work on next.

There are a few different ways to solve this…

The first thing is to make sure, when you create your list of micro-actions, that you put them in some sort of order, no matter if it’s arbitrary or not. Estimate the kind of micro-actions that will take 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes and so on and list each one under the appropriate time category. Then, when you pull out the list to work on it, you’ll immediately see actions are available for the amount of time you have available.

The second thing is that you need to have some sort of predetermined way of knowing which project you’ll work on, when a free five or fifteen minutes comes up. If you’ve only got one project, this is simple. If you have two or more, this can get complicated.

One of the best ways to do this is to have a daily system; if you have multiple projects, you can say “On Tuesdays and Thursdays, any free time I have will go to Project A; on Wednesdays and Fridays, it will go to Project B.”

The rest of the process is simple: any time you have a few spare moments, no matter how few, simply pull out your list, pick a micro-action, and do it. The completed micro-actions will accumulate and you’ll find yourself making progress a lot faster than you were before and you’ll be tickled at how much you’re getting done.

An added bonus: nothing will ever fall through the cracks. All the little details will get taken care of.


Do you get things done by taking micro-actions? Please join the conversation by posting your comments below.