Most procrastinators have heard the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer: “One bite at a time.”
Setting a reachable goal is the first step. (Goals and Desires, March 2, 2015, Setting Reachable Goals, March 16, 2015) Next we plan the approach for achieving that goal – one step at a time. We can eat the elephant bite by bite. Some people call that “chunking.” It works for long and short term jobs.
Entering your apartment after work, you regret volunteering to host your small group. Shoes, crusty cereal bowls, candy wrappers, dirty clothes basket spilling over, limp thirsty plant, half-filled coffee mugs, magazines, books, and CD’s all around. Ugh!
Oh, wait! You can break down this short term do-it-now task into doable chunks. First, water the plant so it has time to perk up. Next, remove the biggest inappropriate thing – the laundry basket to the bedroom closet. Then all shoes to their cubbies followed by putting away all clothes. Next chunk: all dirty dishes to a sink of hot water. Then: all books and magazines stacked, and CD’s into their cubes. Next: Pick up all trash and empty the trash can. Final chunk: fluff the pillows. Room Ready!
IF you have time you can vacuum and dust. But the room is orderly, functional, and attractive – ready for tonight. Relax.
I chunk when I clean the kitchen. Toss all trash, Put away food, Load dishwasher, Hand wash items, Wipe counters.
For a longer term job, we can: * Jot down everything needed to achieve the goal. (One thing often prompts another.) * Put like things together in one chunk. *Put the chunks in timeline order without dates. *Using your calendar, assign chunks or mini-chunks to your weeks/days. (Remember to allow for elements that take longer to complete. Select appropriately for weeks already heavy with demands. Allow breathing room.)
Say you need a new family doctor. Your timeline order might look like this: * Decide what’s important to us (congenial manner, availability, helpful office personnel, etc.) *Get recommendations with reasons from five friends. * Do online search for 3 doctors – location, hospital used, after hours help. * Investigate insurance practices for each. * Make appointment to interview doctor(s) and checkout office.
It is essential to make and work a plan – and focus on the next step in that plan. This saves us from being overwhelmed and brings us to achieving our goal. It fits hand-in-glove with the measure portion of OPTMIS.
Years ago my husband actually gave me a recipe for elephant stew! Guess he knew I’d need it.
Now that you’ve set a reachable goal, what plan will you set up for achieving it?