The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain, in The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield
It seems obvious – you can’t be successful until you get started. You can’t get started on everything at once, so break it down and work on one thing at a time. My friend who is a business coach, Cindy Petersiel, introduced me to a term that describes this basic, yet important idea: “chunk it down.” (Although, I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of the term itself. Something about the word chunk doesn’t appeal to me. The concept, however, is very sound!)
1.) Review your assignments and goals. Create a list of everything you need to do. Make sure you have a complete picture of the tasks and create a time frame.
2.) Break down the project into natural segments. “Write a resume” may be one project. “Make a networking plan” is another task. Prioritize the segments and think about how much time each piece will take to complete.
3.) Focus on one thing at a time. Compile a daily “to do” list. Make sure it is reasonable; don’t give yourself too many tasks on one day. Depending on the job and your patience, you may need to further chunk down the steps. (No one should expect to write a resume in a day!)
4.) Plan ahead. Make sure you have everything you need to work on your task as scheduled.
5.) Seek help. It helps to have a good support system. Ask for advice when you’re really stuck and to ensure that you are on the right track.