A GREAT trick for reaching your goals is knowing how to break large tasks into smaller ones.
I use the word “chunking” to describe this process.
For instance, when I landed a contract to write my first book, Non-Manipulative Selling, I had six months to write it.
On my to-do list every day of those six months was: “Write book”.
Six months went by, no book.
The publisher gave me another three months.
For three more months, “Write book” appeared daily on my to-do list.
Still no book.
The publisher gave me a final three months to deliver or else I would lose the contract.
The power of chunking
Fortunately, Mr Karl Albrecht, author of Service America, gave me the concept of “chunking”.
He asked me how many pages I had to write. Answer: 180.
How many days to write it? Answer: 90.
So he told me that every day, my to-do list should contain this note: “Write two pages of book”.
I had to write two pages. If I got on a roll, I could write four or five.
But the next day, I still had to write a minimum of two.
By following his advice, I finished the book in 30 days!
Another technique for managing your goals comes from Dr John Lee, author, speaker and time-management expert.
He says when a new task pops up, or an old one resurfaces, apply one of the four Ds:
Delay it, or
Consciously choosing one of those strategies every time you face a task will keep things progressing smoothly.
Do it now
Sometimes, when I look around my desk, it looks as if a Post-it note factory has exploded in my office. I have those little yellow papers everywhere, but sometimes I never get around to doing any of the things I have written down on them.
If you, like me, are drowning in a sea of memos, reminders and unanswered e-mail in your in-box, here is a simple rule of life that may end your procrastination problems forever.
It comes from a very valuable book called The Personal Efficiency Program by Kerry Gleeson.
Here’s the rule: “Act on an item the first time you read or touch it.” Mr Gleeson calls it the Do It Now approach to personal efficiency.
In other words, every time something crosses your desk that requires your input or action — whether it is routine paper work, an e-mail message or a phone call you need to make — don’t delay in doing it...do it now! The more you put it off, the more it is likely to be forgotten.
Do yourself a favour right now: Comb through your office and collect every Post-it note or memo you have.
Spend the next half hour making a list of all the actions you were supposed to take or follow up on.
Do them one by one, until every one is crossed off the list.
Spend some time tomorrow doing the same thing with the messages in your in-box. Your workspace will feel less cluttered — and so will your mind.