If you have a daunting task and the mere thought of it overwhelms you, it's probably too big to implement directly and should be broken down into actionable parts. I find this happens to me frequently -- I see the big strategic goal that I want to achieve, but become paralyzed thinking about the size of the project. To accomplish my overall goal, I need to crack this task into small doable pieces. In that way, I keep it simple and focused on one thing at a time.
Five Questions to Ask Yourself to Break a Big Daunting Task into Actionable Pieces
Ask yourself the following questions and write down all the answers you come up with. It works best if you can find a quiet, peaceful, comfortable place to do this where you won't be interrupted.
1. What is the specific overall goal or task you want to achieve?
Be as clear as possible and include as many dates and or numbers as you can. If you are in business, you may have an overall task to "Create $50,000.00 of revenue from new online products within three months." You could also identify more details including information about the target market, the type of products, etc. You can also apply this to personal tasks. For example, you may have an overall objective to "Eliminate clutter in three rooms in my home within two months with processes to maintain it."
2. What information do you need first to complete your goal or task?
I often find I can't take action until I get further information, especially at the beginning of a big task. For example, if your task is to eliminate clutter and you don't really know where to start, you might need information on how to eliminate clutter and what tips the experts recommend. To gather this information you may choose to complete an Internet search or visit the local library and searching under organization or decluttering. Or you could choose to hire a professional organizer to provide some personal assistance.
3. What necessary steps do you foresee?
Again, be as specific as possible. This may seem unnecessary, but if you can write down the required steps to complete your project, it can start to feel less daunting. I often find that I end up with around five steps to complete -- each of them may take me some time to accomplish, but with only five or less steps, it's much easier to get my head around the overall task.
4. Who else should be involved, and what do you require or want them to do?
Make sure you consider both required and desired assistance. There will be times when you need support, but don't forget to also ask for help when it will make the task easier for you and or lighten your load. I find that this step very helpful because we often forget about all the contacts that we really do have -- and the contacts that these people have that they could match us up with if necessary.
5. What should be your very first step, and when do you have to take it?
The first step is always the key to getting started. Often I find this is something I have already identified as part of my response to questions two or four above.
Copyright 2004 Donna P. Lendzyk
Donna P. Lendzyk is a professional coach and creator of the Overcome Overwhelm System. She coaches businesswomen to "Overcome Overwhelm and Achieve Their Desired Results." She is the author of the multi-media "Overcome Overwhelm eProgram." To learn more about her eProgram and sign up for more FREE tips like these, visit her website at http://www.overcomeoverwhelm.com