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How to move a mountain

“The person who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” – Chinese Proverb

Often times we are overwhelmed by a task, project or deadline. It can be as simple as cleaning out a garage, planning a party or weeding a garden, or as complicated as moving to a new state, writing a book or completing a doctoral dissertation. So distressed by the task before us, we don’t even want to begin.

It is as though we are standing at the base of mountain. Looking  up at at the distant peak, we  stop cold – paralyzed by fear and dread. Exhaustion sets in before we take the first step.  Just the thought of navigating this behemoth makes us tired and frustrated. So, what are we to do?

When I felt exasperated by the process of writing a book, creating a website and blogging, my friend, Lori suggested that I employ the method by which she (a busy mother of four) completed her dissertation. I call it “Lori’s 10 minute rule”. The rule is beautifully simple. Work 10 minutes a day on your project. That’s it. Commit to working 10 minutes a day, every day and you will be surprised how much you can accomplish. I can say first-hand that this approach works. I think it works for two reasons. The first is that mentally we can digest the idea of “only” 10 minutes. It feels manageable, so we are more likely to take the important first step to start. The self-imposed pressure to do it all in a day is off.  Ahhh – we can relax! The second is that once we start and get involved in the project, we often work longer than our allotted 10 minutes. We don’t have to, but we may if we choose to do so. One day we look around and notice we made it to the peak!

If you are faced with a daunting task, I encourage you to give “Lori’s 10 minute rule” a try. Take a deep breath and move one stone.


Tom Ross

Great advice. And love Lori’s rule.