Tiny Bits

Good morning dear friends! I’m headed out to the field this morning for more shale harvesting, but still wanted to make forward progress on my manuscript. I’m not sure who said this, but heartily endorse the belief that “success is usually one boring step after another.” In fact, if you google the words “boring” and “success” a surprising amount of material shows up.

Years ago I had a manager comment that, while I was good at envisioning the big picture, I needed to break my projects down into smaller pieces. There is an art to taking a portion of a project and then making that portion one boring step after another. My project this week is to prepare my dissertation proposal manuscript for translation and publication. The manuscript is nearly finished, but there are a few aspects I want to tidy up.

An Example of Tiny Bits

  1. Contact Russian translators for cost and time needed for translation
  2. Contact experts at University X & University Y to ask for informal paper review
  3. Review edits from committee, make changes as needed to text
  4. Add material to Future Applications section
  5. Update Bibliography
  6. Review & update manuscript to specified format requirements

“Half the battle is showing up” and from my vantage point, this rings true. It does not matter what industry I am in, daily consistency matters. I saw evidence of this with my fellow athletes on the rowing team – those who trained every day, in sales – those who consistently called on the really difficult doctors and not just the friendly ones, in graduate school – those who did (and did not) research or write every day, and in my current position, researchers who chip away at the problem every day. Every day I try to mark three more tiny bits off of my list so when I close out the day, I know I “showed up.”

Lilac bushes grow to considerable size in the Dakotas and Montana: the frothy bushes reach the height of houses (more than 30 feet). Lilac flowers, though, are tiny and only measure 0.20 to 0.39 inches in diameter – fractions of an inch. Those tiny bits add up.

Rather than put a daunting task on my list, “prepare manuscript for translation” I make a list of the smallest possible steps… because success is just one boring step after another.

What are your next boring steps to success?


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