Often when faced with starting a large project it’s very easy to get completely overwhelmed by all the detail. It’s all too easy to lose sight of the main objective when you are swamped with the complexities of how to achieve your goal. You know you should start on the project but you just can’t quite motivate yourself to begin! Even washing the dishes or exercising can seem a preferable course of action than attacking an overwhelming project.
This is because the manner in which a task is presented to you has a significant impact on how motivated you will be to take action.
The solution is simple – break the task down into small manageable pieces. Whereby a big project may seem overwhelming and will probably cause you to procrastinate, splitting it into smaller steps can calm you down, make it seem less intimidating and far more manageable and will motivate you to get started. Plus, once we actually get started, our impression of the task often changes for the better. It seems less difficult and less stressful than we had originally anticipated. If you are suffering from procrastination, check out my article on how to stop procrastinating. It contains simple strategies for overcoming procrastination and taking back control of your life.
However, the task of splitting a large project into small achievable steps can be a feat in itself. You have to be quite imaginative if you want to turn a large task into a series of small steps and this can be a major project in itself! But once you have a working methodology the process becomes much simpler.
So how do you divide a big job into a series of smaller, easier more manageable pieces? Here’s a step by guide to simplify the process.
1/ Create A Visual Map
The first step is to create a visual map of the goal you wish to achieve. Get a sheet of A4 or US Letter paper and start by drawing a circle in the middle of the paper and write inside the circle the task you wish to accomplish. Then draw lines coming out of the circle leading to a description of each task you need to achieve to make the overall goal successful. If any of the smaller tasks still seem unmanageable continue with the same system. Draw a circle around them and then draw more lines leading to a description of what you need to achieve to accomplish the smaller goals.
2/ Create A Timeline
The next stage is to arrange all the smaller tasks you have listed on your sheet of paper in chronological order leading to the completed project. Eventually, you’ll have a list of everything you need to achieve and in the order you need to do them to accomplish your goal. As I mentioned above, if any of these smaller steps still seem daunting, go through the same process again for the smaller step to break it down to even smaller steps.
3/ Set Measurable Milestones
It is important to set measurable milestones for your smaller steps. These smaller tangible goals will mark significant stages along the road to achieving your end goal and will help you feel you have achieved something and will help you to stay motivated. Also, cross each step you complete off your list as this visual record of ticking off your achievements can motivate you to continue with your task.
4/ Use A Goal Planner
When it comes to planning how to tackle a large project, there are several options for organizing the process. These might include online tools, calendars, or just a notepad and a pencil. But I believe one of the best ways to get started is to use a Goal Planner. I can recommend (of course!) the SeffSaid printable Goal Planner available for download on this very site. It includes areas for listing your goal, the main steps needed to be accomplished, and the smaller steps needed to succeed. Plus checklists for all the individual steps so you can track your progress. Get your copy today!
Most large tasks can appear overwhelming when viewed as a whole. But by breaking them down into small achievable pieces, you’ll be able to stay focused and motivated and accomplish your goal one step at a time.
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