Break it Down Into Parts

Struggling with a project that seems too big for you? Break it down into parts. Get the individual “to-do’s” down to a manageable size.

People often get overwhelmed by ‘too much’. They can’t handle so much information or so many steps all at one time. But there is a solution. Deliberately break it down into smaller pieces.

Does it have several phases? Deal with phase one first. Does it have too much information to absorb? Read a summary first. Does it consist of a whole series of responsibilities with multiple people? Isolate each person’s responsibility first and then see how each fits the whole.

Additionally you can get some assistance from someone who is good at grasping the big picture. Have them work with you to lessen the intimidation and gain clarity so you can move forward with confidence.

“Some of you may be reluctant to lower your sights even the least bit. Although it may feel like a blow to your pride to choose a minimal goal, we think that it could ultimately be more rewarding for you. You can build on real accomplishment by achieving your goal step by step, rather than by insisting on lofty goals and doing nothing.”

Jane Burka and Lenora Yuen, Procrastination

Five Days of Action

Make a list of those projects, responsibilities or upcoming decisions that seem too big for you. They are creating tension or causing you to feel stuck. When you think of the big picture, what is missing – knowledge, skill, attitude, or something else? Resolve to not put it off any longer but shoot for small solutions starting today.

Break one of the projects on your list into two to five logical parts or steps. What’s the desired outcome of each? Who needs to take ownership of it? What structures need to be put into place to support each step? What specific, decisive action needs to be taken for each of the parts you created?

Who do you have in your network who can take big things and break them down into manageable steps? If need be, call them. Ask them for some time and present your problem. They may be able to provide clear thinking and advice.

Take what you have learned this week and create a system, flow chart or simple planning tool that can help you deal with big tasks in the future, based on the ones you’ve already completed successfully.

Take major decisive action on some part of your work. Often that will break the log-jam and lead you to new clarity and effective action.