There’s a theory / practice that I follow seemingly hundreds of times each day. It’s applicable to almost anything: launching a website, cleaning a house, doing the dishes, solving personal problems, clearing off a to-do list, etc.

Honestly, I wish I had the time to write a book about it. I would make another fortune. But since I don’t have the time, let me share the gist with you for free.

It’s my “big stuff first” rule. In a way I suppose it’s related to the famous 80% rule… you know where 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your clients. Or where 80% of the wear and tear on carpet is on 20% of the square footage…

The Big Stuff First rule goes like this: tackle obstacles / problems / clutter by taking care of (removing) the Big Stuff First. Let me use house cleaning for example. I have a 4-year-old. She is a tornado mess maker. A clean living room becomes a disaster in mere moments. The sheer appearance of the room can be enough to make a person think, “Too big of a job – I will do it later – or not at all.”

So here’s what you do: Find the biggest-looking thing on the floor. Usually it’s a blanket sprawled out, or large couch pillows. Pick it up, fold it, put it where it goes. Because it was the biggest “looking” thing and it’s now gone, the APPEARANCE of the mess has been reduced by a solid 50%.

What’s the next biggest item? Pick it up and put it away. All of a sudden the appearance of the mess is down to 30% of where it started. Then next smallest, and so on. (Usually after the first 3 or 4 large items, the rest can be shoveled into a toy box, etc.)

If you apply this to business, or the stress of your job, list our your challenges or problems. Then prioritize them by size. Tackle the Big Stuff First. Once you knock off the first two or three the rest of the list is quite manageable and not so intimidating. Just shovel them into a box!

The point is that whether you have a messy living room, a big to-do list at work, or your personal life is solid chaos and you don’t know where to begin to fix it, start with the Big Stuff First to reduce intimidation and make the smaller items much more manageable.