Does anyone know how to eat an Elephant? You may have heard this clever quote before and the answer is one bite at a time. Or perhaps a trip of a million miles start’s with the first step. Both sayings are really talking about tackling a project or endeavor of some substantial size and that the most arduous task always begins with one simple 1st step.
We have all experienced an overwhelming task or project that we really had no idea how in the world it would ever get done. I would like to share with you the greatest organizing process in the history of the world. A planning system so comprehensive and second nature, that it can organize any project, of any size and won’t cost you a penny. I am talking about the mind.
For the purpose of this article, I will define a project as any item or task, big or small that is not the way you would like it to be. For example the company budget is off and needs to be tweaked or reworked. The landscaping in your front yard is not ideal and you would like to add a few more plants or flowers. Laundry just seems to pile up and you would like an easier way to manage the whole process.
The natural planning process that we all use sub-consciously can be directed and harnessed to accomplish any task. This process can tackle anything from The process has 5 very simple steps.
Step 1 is to define the purpose of the project or change and apply your personal principles to it. You have determined that an item is different than how you want it, but why? A clear definition is the key to the planning process. The definition will be defined by your own principles and internal belief system.
Step 2 is to envision the project or task in its completed state. What does that look like? More shade in the front yard? A clutter free laundry room? A new promotion based on company saving activities? The idea is to picture the completed project in its entirety.
Step 3 is to brainstorm all ideas relating to the project. At this step we don’t need to focus on quality, but rather quantity. Every idea at this stage is valid and deserves some attention. Use whatever medium is comfortable. Mind mapping, computer programs, index cards etc., are all appropriate means to capture the brainstorming ideas.
Step 4 is organizing all of the ideas that developed during the brainstorming step. Take all of your brainstorming ideas and putting them in a tangible order. A few areas’ to organize might be by cost, by distance or proximity, by length of time, by items involved, by resources, etc. Placeing the ideas in a logical, workable order will lead into the following step.
Step 5 is identifying the first possible action. If we have successfully created ownership of the project, and for the right reasons; the logical next step should be easy to identify. It is doing the 1st action, taking the 1st bite and walking that first step.