So, for projects that are large in scope I’ve learned to rely on stages. Stages have gotten me through several marathons. Basically when 26 miles doesn’t seem possible, I just tell myself to get to the next mile marker.
This strategy helped a lot in the recent Nike race when my knee was probably hoping I’d quit. Around mile 16 I considered not finishing due to knee pain but convinced myself to get to mile 17. Then at mile 17 I decided I could at least do one more mile and so on.
Another variation of this method is described in this month’s Ensign magazine (Jan. 2012) by Elder Christofferson when his mother was going through painful radiation treatments for cancer. One day his mother was so sick and weak she told her mother she wasn’t sure she could stand having 16 more of the treatments. Her mother asked her if she could do the treatment that day and she said she could. Then, her wise mother told her that was all she had to get through right then.
Elder Christofferson has thought of that example many times when he has needed to take one thing or one day at a time. So, I’m clearly in good company with this approach.
Right now I’m implementing this strategy for the annual house (drawers, closets, etc.) clean out. Even just taking on the kitchen looms too large, so it's been divided into 5 stages: 1. pantry 2. fridge & freezer 3. drawers on island 4. left side cupboards 5. right side cupboards.
So far, I’ve only tackled one of the five kitchen stages. But, I’ll get there (albeit slowly). Then, after the kitchen, I can take on the bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. (also broken down into stages!)
For me, stages are essential. Without stages I might never even begin grand scale projects!