Question: How do you eat an elephant?
Answer: One bite at a time.
Now, before you animal lovers get all upset and accuse me of animal cruelty, I am not talking about actually eating an elephant.
I am speaking metaphorically of course! In fact, I am on a diet and therefore trying to eat as few animals as possible at the minute.
It refers to a way to of achieving large or long term goals or to help complete large tasks.
As I have mentioned before I suffer from ADD (attention deficit disorder) and have done since I was a child. This means that I have trouble concentrating on one thing, get easily distracted and therefore tend to have quite a few things on the go at once.
Some of the projects I am involved in are very big and at the start, after my initial excitement, can begin to seem daunting. The end seems so far away they it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
If a job appears too big then I used to tend to put it off and lose interest in in it. This resulted in so many things getting started and never getting finished.
Then one day I found a system, and it enabled me to take on and complete massive jobs and get them done in record time. This system also helps you work on many different projects at once and get them done.
I call it chunking. I chunk everything down to manageable pieces. IT is really simple.
When I start a new project I write down the initial idea and start to make a list of what is involved and all the things that need to be done. I usually start with the main things and create headings, then I add items under each heading. I write as many things as I can.
Once I get started and come up with the main headings I then find it quite easy to come up and list everything that is needed to be done to complete the whole project.
I also discovered that, in a lot of cases, the steps were identical for a lot of my projects and tasks. This means that the more I use this system the easier it gets.
For some reason the list normally comes out of my head in the order which it is required to be done. (which maybe means that I am more organised than I first thought?) However, it is not about getting it all in order at this stage, it is about getting it all down on paper and out of your head.
This list then becomes my master to do list. I then prioritise them (by project and then task) I then have a number of lists for all of the work that needs to be done for every project I am involved in. Next, I mark all of the tasks that I am going to delegate or outsource, which is quite a lot. Then
I got to say that this has made a real difference to my stress levels. I used to get a knotted feeling in my stomach when I thought about the mountain of work and things that needed to be done, it all seemed so undo-able, putting it down on paper removes all of that stress and I get a feeling of achievement just by doing this one thing.
I then choose items from the various project master lists and add them to my daily task list. I then get stuck in and TRY not to vary or move from this list. This is not as easy as you might think, for me anyway, but it makes such a huge difference I cannot tell you.
The other thing is that I can get so much more done.
There are so many time and project management systems out there, I have read so many books on them but a lot of them are very complicated and long winded and involve all manner of software programs and timers and, and, and. !
My system is very simple write it all down in detail, put it in order then do it. How easy is that?
It really is amazing that something so easy and simple to do can make such a huge difference to my working day.
Now I am off to swim with the dolphins and enjoy some of the free time that my chunking system has enabled me to do.