The “Pieces” Approach to Overwhelm

If you know you need to do something, but you it’s too difficult or overwhelming, break it down.

I need to clean my bathroom once a week, but it is difficult for me to do so because of health problems.

So I broke it down. I can clean my sink one day, my counter the next, and so on. One tiny increment at a time.

I call this the “pieces” approach*.

Maybe you can’t do the whole thing, but you can do one piece. All you have to do is break it down and take the first step.


I recently needed to learn a bunch of new skills to edit a video and it was overwhelming. I did very little work on it.

Then I was reminded of this “deconstruction” approach in “The First 20 Hours” by Josh Kauflin.

To learn a skill quickly break it down into subskills and practice them each individually.

Instead of an intimidating larger skill, I had a half a dozen subskills to practice.

I can’t do the whole thing in a single sitting (yet), but I can practice the subskills and work up to it.



Photo by Nathalia Segato on Unsplash

2 responses to “The “Pieces” Approach to Overwhelm”

  1. I’ve had similar experiences! Especially if I need to make multiples of something complex (wedding invitations for a friend, once…), making several of the same part, when I’m up to it, is much easier than trying to make one really, really, complex thing all at once…

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