Lego

When it comes to thinking about projects – do you spend more time building them up in your mind or breaking them down? When you put up a rig for a show – props, a speaker rack, or a large projection screen for example – thinking ahead about the strike can impact how you put it up. If you’re spending a lot of energy building up a project in you mind, it might be better to think about breaking it down.

Projects on our to-do lists tend to stay in the forefront of our minds. Before any work is done, we can become overwhelmed by the size of a project, and usually begin to build it up as something bigger than is actually is.

Next time you find a seemingly big project popping into your head, instead of just stressing over the amorphous blob of “big, undefined project” start breaking it down.

Think about:

  • What is the first step you need to take to get it going?
  • What big tasks are going to be involved?
  • How much of it will you be responsible for?
  • What are your deadlines or milestones?
  • What little projects will make up the larger project?
  • Can you categorize or tag specific parts – tasks, meetings, etc.?

Having some defined areas to think about, helps reduce the stress of just thinking about “the project.” Even if there will be a lot of work involved, just changing the focus from building it up to breaking it down, can make it more manageable.

Writing it down is optimal, but even just thinking about it in terms of the parts, steps, or actions is better than sweating over the sheer mass of what the project might entail. The mind likes chunking things, so by breaking down things in your head, the mind can better process the whole concept of the project. Then, it’s no longer is a big, undefined, heap.

Tony D. Clark writes, draws cartoons, designs software and websites, and spends a lot of time talking others into working from home, being creative, and doing what they love. His blog Success from the Nest helps people to design and run a home-based business that is in line with their unique gifts, values, personality, and world-view – all served up with humor and cartoons.

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