Learn How To Break Up Large Tasks And Get Them Done
by Bryan Beckstead
First, so there are no surprises, there is no secret formula to breaking up large tasks. You just do it. The fact we are here is the biggest step you will make in this area. Large overpowering tasks are just a collection of many smaller jobs all joined together. Start thinking like this and you are well on your way.
I have a seminar example I always use when I'm dealing with this topic; its true and it happened to me. I use to operate my business from my home. My office was on the second floor. One day there was a delivery of 400 boxes of computer forms, instead of taking the boxes up to the second floor as they were instructed, they left them at the receptionist's desk, on the 1st floor. When I saw what had happened, I did my usual huff and puff. I was not happy. I walked by that stack, that mountain of boxes for about a week and then one day, I actually needed what was in one of them. I picked it up and went upstairs, opened it up and used it. The next day, as I was walking by, I decided to pick up two as I went upstairs. The next trip, another two and so on. It took awhile, but all the boxes got up to the second floor.
The moral of the story is pretty evident; even seemingly insurmountable tasks are doable when you break them down into manageable bits. Only you can decide what is big and has to be broken down. How small does it have to be broken to before you want to tackle it? Again a question for you to answer. Here are some tips.
The Longer The Hesitation, The Smaller The Pieces Should Be. If you find yourself hesitating before jumping in, that is a signal that what is ahead of you needs to be broken up into smaller chunks. Everything else being equal, you will get more and better productivity out of yourself if you do a two hour job in two stretches. Keep in mind the impact of a start and a restart. As long as that is not a factor, always try to chop up the longer tasks into time slots that suit your natural energy cycles and levels.
Is It Doable Right Now? Without any fanfare or additional planning, is what you are about to do, doable? If the answer is yes, jump in. If the answer is no, then take the steps that are required to make it doable. Starting something when you are not properly prepared, especially a larger than normal job, makes your prospects of success almost zero. You can't always postpone jobs to suit your timetable, but starting a task when you are ill prepared means starting with at least one hand tied behind your back. Not a position you want to find yourself in.
Controllable and Manageable. Two words that you must feel apply to you when you start any task. Are you managing the task and are you in control of the events surrounding this production. If you cannot answer both of these questions in the affirmative, you need to regroup and organize yourself. Managing the task means that the events that are unfolding are the ones that you are choreographing. In other words, are the players in this play following your direction or are they doing their own thing with you as a spectator?
Your Agenda Or Theirs? If things are getting out of your control, the size of the pieces could be the issue. You can't break up the process of crossing a stream into two parts, but you can break up the process of climbing a mountain into several stages. Some tasks lend themselves to being broken up and others do not. The variations are endless. The simple rule of thumb is this, if the job can be done better, faster, more efficiently or can be improved in any way by breaking it up, go for it. The reverse will be made plain to you soon enough.
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Bryan Beckstead may be contacted at http://www.powertimesystem.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright (c) 2009 Bryan Beckstead