You know how there’s that saying – “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
(If you didn’t know, well, now you do.)
I get it. I get this saying, it’s all about taking tiny steps instead of overwhelming your brain with the big picture all at once. But the problem is that in real life, with actual elephant-esque ventures, not everyone has a way to go from the whole elephant to one tiny bite. Where do you even start eating? What part will be the fastest to eat? And for that matter, did we already have someone do the butchering for us? Because if eating an elephant is a difficult venture, I can only imagine the mess that comes with preparing it for eating.
(Okay, that’s where the elephant metaphor breaks down and gets a little icky. Moving swiftly onward…)
My point is this:
Taking a big project and turning it into a lot of little “bites” is not necessarily an intuitive process. After working with lots of clients, I’ve come to realize that people tend to either:
A. Not break it down into bites at all and just keep throwing themselves at the project as a whole (which can create progress but can also create frustration and that hopeless feeling that you’re not making any effing progress, argh).
B. Break it down into hundreds of tiny nibbles and then sit there, staring at their to do list and thinking “Holy crap, I am NEVER GOING TO GET THIS DONE.” Then they start drinking margaritas long before 5 o’clock.
C. Decide that the project is weighing on their mind so much they’re just going to scrap it entirely.
None of these is the best way to go about it. Obviously. You need to break it down into small, doable tasks, yeah, but you also need to have a way of organizing those tasks (to prevent to-do-list-overwhelm margarita syndrome) and a plan for doing them (to prevent that hopeless not-progressing feeling).
Kind of like this:
That’d be the outline (in flowchart form – flowline? outchart?) for my newest creation, the Get a Grip On Your Project Kit.
As for me, I’m taking some much-needed family time and visiting my family this weekend – I’ll be back on Monday evening, and have a post going up Monday morning. See you then!