The time-management expert, Alan Lakein, calls this the "Swiss Cheese" method. You poke a hole in your project. After you poke enough holes in a project, there isn't much left. A large project becomes easier and easier to tackle the more holes you poke in it. Also, when you don’t have the time or motivation to tackle your project, you can do some small thing that moves it forward, even a little, and that will do two things: It will improve your mood, and it will make the project a little less intimidating.
This question keeps you moving. It keeps you making progress.
One of Lakein's techniques is to set a timer for five minutes, and work on your project until the time is up. Because it is so brief, you are not at all intimidated. Five minutes. You can stand just about anything for five measly minutes.
Often you'll find that once your five minutes are up, you don't really want to stop. But by giving yourself such a small goal to begin with, you are able to get something done. Without that technique, you would have gotten nothing done on that project.
And working on your project for even five minutes gets you thinking about it, which is usually a good thing.
We tend to think about projects as a whole. This question gets us thinking about doing smaller parts of the whole. Do you have a large project you've been putting off because it is such a large project and you don't want to get started? Ponder this question. Can you do something on it for five minutes? Can you do a small part of it for now?
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.