It feels tempting to give in to enthusiasm and build a project in one night, learn something in a single week or master an art in a month. But it's rarely successful. Motivation can be a major factor if progress is stopping.

It's in human nature to want to grow. We're looking to learn new skills, build something meaningful or simply complete a book. For many people, it's also nature to want to do so very quickly, and then never again: Read 12 books in a month, and then never touch a book again. Build a project in a week, and never want to do anything with it again. Learn a skill in a week, and never apply it.

What if you'd take things one step at a time, and let the progress compound instead?

I recently started working on an addition to my mentorship site MentorCruise. To be honest, that project falls under one of the categories mentioned above. I built this during a 5 month streak of long nights and rarely took some time to let things settle. After release, I let the project sit for a few months. I had to get away from it, to even stay remotely motivated.

Everything that got me through those 5 months was the motivation and adrenaline of creating something new. Something that isn't so strong when maintaining a project after.

These days, with an addition to the core offering coming soon, I split up a single feature into tiny little tasks, spread over two weeks.

Yes, it's not as exciting as to hack this thing together in a week. But I know that I'll be able to keep this daily routine up for months and possibly even years to come. I'm making progress every day, and this progress compounds over time, and delivers the same results in a more organic matter, hopefully with higher quality.

Maybe, if you're not building a project or business, you can't relate to this at all. That's fair. Let's look at it another way:

  • If you're looking to get fit, it's probably better to run for 20 minutes everyday for years, than for 2 hours everyday for a month (and then never again – you know who you are)
  • If you're working on an essay, it might be better to write a chapter every day for a week, rather than write it all in one night (and produce sleep-deprived garbage)
  • If you're looking to master Jiu-Jitsu, it's probably more realistic to do so by training every evening for a year, than to train all day everyday for a month

Just like interest, progress is able to compound. You're essentially learning something everyday, and rather than to stack things on top of that immediately, you're letting all of it settle for a while, and then build on top of that.

Building a house quickly may sound inviting – but what's going to happen if the foundation breaks?