The Little Wins vs. the Big Wins

by Yasmin McGlashan on 25th Mar 2024

What do you think is more important - the big win or the little win?

I expect you’ve started reading this expecting me to pit them against each other, have them battle it out for the top spot and end up telling you that one is more important than the other. Well, that's not what I’m going to do.

They’re both as important (and beneficial) as the other.

There’s probably a good chance you think the big win is more important because it’s the BIG win. It’s the end goal, it’s what brings in new clients/money/recognition or brings your business to life.

Think about the last time you experienced that big win. Did you just start the project and boom, target achieved? Even the most experienced business owners would struggle to achieve success that fast! Small wins can occur even when we don’t notice. Taking the time to notice them can mean you feel more accomplished with your tasks, and it can make the time go faster before you finally achieve your end goal. These are rarely achieved overnight so by ticking off achievements along the way, it can boost motivation.

The process of getting to the overall big goal can feel daunting and it’s rarely straightforward. I’ve put together some tips on how you can acknowledge the small wins and make staying motivated easier when things feel like they’re taking a long time to achieve…

Break down the end goal into small digestible chunks

Reframe how you look at your day. If you look at each day with the mindset of ‘I have all of this work to do to reach this one end goal’ then there’s a reasonable chance of you ending up stuck and not knowing where to start. You’ll more than likely find yourself constantly going back and forth, and then suddenly it’s the end of the day and you’ve achieved barely anything.

Break down your tasks into smaller challenges and focus on getting one completed before you move on to the next;, you’ll feel better and more accomplished at the end of a task for it. And guess what, that’s one small win already in the bag.

Each day focus on one task

Now you’ve broken your big task down, take each of the smaller tasks and try to work through one a day. While it might not always be possible to completely tick it off your list in one day, there is a decent chance that, by focusing, you’ll be able to make some progress no matter how small it might be.

By breaking down a big goal into smaller, more achievable tasks, you make it easier to give it your all on a regular basis. Ploughing away at a seemingly insurmountable task can be incredibly demotivating in the long run, so smaller goals that you can achieve faster can help to boost motivation. This extra fire could even help you achieve more than you initially hoped!

Break it down again

Once you’ve broken down the big task into smaller, more digestible chunks, focused on one task a day, it’s time to break it down again.

If your daily small win task still seems like a big ask, break it down even more and take it one piece at a time. Again, create a checklist or a to-do list - both my team and I absolutely love a list. Every time I check something off, I get a serotonin boost knowing I’m one step closer to finishing that day's work and a step closer to the end goal. Give it a go and let me know how you feel after checking a few things off that list.

Put distractions behind you

Block out some time in the day to work with no distractions. Set your phone and emails to ‘do not disturb’ for a few hours so you’re not distracted by other people or notifications. If you work in an office, see if you can book a workspace and pop a ‘do not disturb’ note on the door. A great tip for those of us who find it easy to get distracted by new ideas that aren’t related to what we’re currently working on is to always make sure you have a notepad with you while you focus on the task at hand. That way, if an idea or task you need to complete comes to you, you can write it down, get it out of your head, and worry about it later.  (This also works brilliantly if you’re the type of person who wakes up at 3am remembering something vital, only to forget it in the morning.)

By eliminating distractions and truly focusing on the task at hand even for an hour or two, you can make amazing progress.

Take a break

It's easy to think that working through lunch can make you more productive, but it’s been proven that this can have the opposite effect. I’ve been told that inspiration rarely strikes when you're sitting in front of the laptop and it’s absolutely true. Every hour or so, get up, stretch, and go for a small wander around your house, office, or around the block. Get some fresh air and some sunlight, recharge yourself, and then get back to it. You will feel so much more refreshed.

Give yourself a treat

At the end of the day, why not have a treat? Whether it’s something sweet and chocolatey, a hot bath, an exercise class, or putting your phone in a drawer and watching a film with the family, everyone deserves a treat after a long day at work achieving goals and ticking off tasks. You deserve this; you won today.

By breaking down the big win into smaller chunks and treating them as little wins, you can get more done and, possibly more importantly, celebrate more things in your workday. Try these tips and let us know how they helped you.

And, just in case no one has told you today, well done on your little win.


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