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100DC Day 64: Divide and Conquer

100 Day Challenge: Divide and ConquerThe old adage about eating an elephant — one bite at a time — applies perfectly to goal setting. You reach any large goal by breaking it down into manageable, doable actions

Large goals and overwhelming tasks are only intimidating when you look at them in totality.

While this concept is probably not new to you, in my goal-setting workshops, I find that the practice it is rarely followed. For many, it seems to be too much of a bother or a waste of time. What they fail to see is that taking the time and bother to write down goals and break that down into manageable steps gives an enormous boost in progress toward a goal.

Perhaps you think you shouldn’t have to write down a goal such as “organize pantry.” It’s silly, I mean, it’s just a pantry. But if cleaning out the pantry is sitting on your to do list for weeks on end, it’s probably one of those tasks that seems overwhelming, whether that sounds reasonable or not.

If “organize pantry” is too much of a challenge or too much of a time commitment, how about one of these:

  • Organize paper products
  • Buy containers for dry goods
  • Sort cleaning products by type
  • Wipe down cereal shelf

Given that most of those just take a few minutes or can be done while on another errand, don’t they seem more manageable? You might not get the entire pantry cleaned out today, but having three of the 12 shelves organized is a good start.

If breaking down a goal into small pieces makes it more likely that you take action, then it’s worth the effort.

If you’d like to see my preferred method for managing projects of any size, read David Allen’s mythic Getting Things Done. He’s mastered the art of completing projects of any size by breaking them into bite-sized actions.

Join me in the 100 Day Challenge!

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Morticia March 5, 2013, 8:20 am

    I’m excited to get that book. I’ve actually heard about it about 400 times in the past, but this was enough to push me over the edge and buy it. I really need more organization in my life.

  • lisalisa March 5, 2013, 10:04 pm

    I needed this message TODAY. I have a big project (planning a family reunion this summer) and I’m totally overwhelmed.

    Once I read this, I sat down and made a list of each thing I need to do. Then I wrote down names of each person who I could delegate items to. My list is actually really simple now. I’ll be able to sleep well for the first time in a week.

    Thank you, Alison!

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