Turning Mountains Into Molehills

Hey there!

Getting anything started is a series of little wins, not the whole project done at once.

That big looming thing you have to do is really a set of dozens or hundreds of little, manageable things.

Once you start to look at it like that, you’ll ease the pressure and fear of getting started.

Here’s how to organize that process.

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Hope this helps!


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hey there it’s David H Lawrence the 17th
and you’ve heard the phrase a million
times don’t turn a molehill into a
mountain she’s making mountains out of
molehills he’s making mountains out of
molehills you know the phrase means
building something bigger or giving
something more importance than it
actually deserves and what I’d like to
do is the opposite today and I’d like to
show you how to turn mountains into mole
hills for success so you get anything
started you look at this
huge mountain of work that you need to
do right and it seems insurmountable but
you really want to do it so you like get
a running start and you think I got so
much to do well what if there was an
easier way of avoiding all that stress
and getting started on what you were
the way to do that is to reduce that
great big pile of stuff that you need to
do into what it already is which is
discrete small individual things to do
there are people that call them micro
tasks there are people that call them
steps right so if you keep thinking in
terms of all the different things that
you need to do or the results the
outcome it’s gonna be really hard for
you to see the step-by-step process that
needs to happen just to get started and
to get things moving you also want to
build momentum right and the only way to
build momentum is to get some early wins
you know get some wins under your belt
it doesn’t have to be big wins in fact
it’s probably better if you have more
small wins than one big huge win you
know as I’ve been making these videos
I’ve learned so much about the little
steps that I need to do every time I do
one you know setting my lights setting
my my sound making sure that the image
looks good making sure that I don’t have
anything else running on my computer so
I get the best frame grabbing there’s
probably well I would say given you know
like the notes that I take that I do for
each one and then the building of the
webpage and the publishing to youtube
and the adding of anyway the point is
there’s literally dozens of things and
they’re all part of a much bigger
project which is the 365 videos for the
year but if I looked at this as one big
glob of stuff that I had to digest like
a snake swallowing a pig it would be
next to impossible but the idea that I
can break it down into individual little
tiny tasks and get them done in order is
a much more manageable thing and it
builds that muscle memory like when I
sit down to do a video I have a pretty
good idea of the path I’m taking all
way all the way up to getting if YouTube
provides it to me getting the the closed
captioning that they do and putting it
on the vo to gogo web page for raw SEO
it’s like the last step making sure that
it’s scheduled properly and all that
sort of thing and when you first start
especially if you’re doing this for a
business there’s a really big reason
that is kind of adjacent to all this to
make sure you’re doing micro tasks as
opposed to big big big things that might
require staffing or might require outlay
for equipment or software and that is
that when you’re first starting off
doing something you may be what will
Schroeder calls in startups comm
resource-constrained you know you don’t
know what it’s gonna cost you in terms
of time in terms of money in terms of
you know people to help you
relationships support so you want to
break these down into little tiny chunks
so that you’re not spending a whole ton
of money and when I say tiny chunks it
can be an hour or less a lot of the
things that I do to do these videos is a
few seconds right you know setting the
the the gain and the brightness and the
contrast on the camera every so often
you know copying the the the stuff that
YouTube gives me in terms of closed
captioning bringing it into BBEdit which
I love and getting rid of the line
numbers and so on that they’re their
files give you that’s like a very
straightforward process takes maybe 10
seconds to do it
and even if it takes up to 30 minutes or
an hour that’s still considered a micro
task it’s still considered a small
enough task that you can see the end of
it right so if this has helped you great
I’d love to know what big big big
project you’ve got looming in front of
you maybe it’s a class you’re taking
maybe it’s a project you’re working on
your demos your resume
maybe it’s your on-camera demo that’s
like that you’re on camera reels an even
bigger process than than just doing a
voiceover stuff who knows whatever it is
if you’re not a performer tell me what
project you might be working on that can
benefit from reducing it from one big
globby thing to do into a series of
small discreet micro tasks that are
steps that move you forward and help you
build momentum let me know in the
comments below I’d love to know that and
if you’d like some insight on how I’m
making these videos I don’t know if it’d
be helpful to you I’m really proud of
the little tiny things that I’ve learned
along the way and if there’s questions
you have I’d love to do an AMA later on
and ask me anything where I gather up
all the the questions that people have
asked in the comments I’d love to do
that’s a lice nice little micro task
that I could do for a future video or
five as we do these videos all year long
if you’d like to subscribe to my youtube
channel go ahead and click on my head
there if you see my head there if you
don’t look for a subscribe button
somewhere on the page then if you want
to see the latest video that I’ve done
go ahead and click on that frame there
and YouTube will play it for you I’m
David H Lawrence xvii I so appreciate
you watching these videos and I’ll talk
to you tomorrow.



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  1. How do you eat an elephant? Answer: one bite at a time. You won’t get it eaten in one setting, but over time, with a little persistence and consistency, it will happen. Good things to remember! Thank you!

  2. David, I am someone who always see’s the big picture, how much needs to be done and get overwhelmed and that feeling gets in the way of thinking clearly.
    So your video today was a real help and reminder, about taking little steps.
    Also as I looked at you full screen on my computer I was aware of what an excellent video, visually it is. I can see you have been working on improving your camera presentation. Yes I would be interested in learning how you do it. Later though. As I need to continue ,one chapter at a time on my latest audio book.. Distraction is something else I need to be aware of,
    Thank you Namaste

  3. I look at micro-tasks with house work for sure. I’m building a Dungeons and Dragons campaign at the moment and I’ve been using micro-tasks for some aspects. I’ll probably create bits and pieces as I go rather than come up with the entire campaign before we start. Thanks for the video David.

  4. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these videos! I look forward to them everyday. I had a question: I was on an Air Canada flight last weekend and was listening to the on board music. The voice that announced “You’re listening to Sting ray music” sounded like you ….. Was/Is that your voice? I was like ” That sounds like DAVID!”

    Thanks for being amazing,

  5. David,
    As a teacher and mentor, I get asked by our “kids” about stress and how to get things done, and I always work with them on how to break things down into something that is totally daunting into something manageable to deal with and move onto the next thing. How is it that we get ourselves into the place where we don’t even thing about taking our own advice? It can be a bit unnerving (ah, there is the Mountain) if you spend too much time thinking about it, but it happens. And having the tools to break it down are life lessons we can pass on easily. I am very interested in how your what your “set” looks like. If I were to do it, I would have a big mic covered in a sock in front of me and the lighting would have me backlit. So, yeah, how are you set up for this?

    1. Simple three point lighting meant for on-camera starkness. Not interested in playing a mic. Two lights in front and a set of hair lights. That’s it. The message is the important part.

  6. Always a good reminder David. I’ve got several irons in the fire and sometimes it just overwhelms me. Your reminder is timely, and I thank you! Kirsten

  7. My “globby thing to do” is to pull samples from the video games I’m in, archive them AND turn them into a video game demo, and get the credits corrected/updated into IMDB. So I have three mountains forming one giant super-mountain. It’s been sitting in my to-do list for over a year. It would be interesting to know your process for breaking things into smaller tasks – do you sit with the task for an hour and plan out the small things, or is it more of an organic “one bite at a time” approach?

    1. Thank think it’s recognizing the actual steps you need to take, down to the individual moves you make with what sites, what you do with the results, etc. really mapping out the process. I’m a process person for the most part, so that approach really appeals to me. Writing those steps down helps as well.