Whenever we’re working on big goals or projects, we can lose focus and get overwhelmed quite quickly. There are so many moving parts and tasks involved that we can get lost in all of it. Where do we start? How do we continue? What should we work on next? These type of questions will pop up really quickly – and if we can’t answer them properly, the overwhelming feeling of stress will start to take over. To make sure this doesn’t happen anymore, I use (one of my favourite) productivity techniques called ‘Chunking’.
Nowadays, I use this productivity technique for every single new project I start – whether it’s writing a book, producing a new course or building a new income stream – I always refer back to chunking. I now no longer get overwhelmed when I’m starting a new (intimidating) project and I’m much more productive and focussed in the process.
How Chunking Works
Chunking is essentially the process of breaking down a large goal or project into many different, bite-sized, tasks. This way, it’s no longer this intimidating mountain you need to climb, but you’re simply focussed on taking the very next step (again and again).
When you chunk your projects, you write down all the tasks you can think of that are necessary to complete your project. You write down every single (highly specific) to-do that pops up in your mind. Remember, you can always add more tasks on-the-go as you come up with them. For now, just focus on what comes up at this moment. The list you’ve now created is what I like to call your ‘Masterlist’.
Your Masterlist is the holy grail of your project. From this list of highly specific, bite-sizes to-do’s, you can start crushing it. You can start to pick out tasks of your Masterlist and tackle them one-by-one. Each time you complete one of your tasks, cross it off your list and pick out the next task to work on. No longer is your project intimidating or overwhelming. Rather, it has become approachable and snackable.
Oversimplified Example Of A Masterlist (Project: Writing My Book ‘Stop Procrastinating’)
Here you can see how I use a Masterlist for one of my latest projects (writing my book ‘Stop Procrastinating’). The Masterlist is much, much longer than what you see here, but it’s just to give you an example of how I use it. By using this Masterlist, I no longer get overwhelmed or lose focus. I know exactly what has already been done and what still needs to be done.
How I Used ‘Chunking’ To Build My Business
Let me give you a personal example. When I started Elevation, it was a very intimidating project. In fact, starting any new business is a huge, intimidating project. The most efficient way to successfully accomplish such an immense project (without it taking months or even years) is by breaking it down into very small checkpoints.
I literally chunked my project into 100 – 150 to-do’s. If I remember correctly, it became a list of about 4 pages. Everything from designing products to making product images, setting up the Facebook and Instagram pages, arranging taxes, making the about us page, contacting suppliers, creating the email addresses, setting up payment systems, building the website design and 100+ more tasks – I’ve chunked the enormous project of ‘building a business’ into much smaller, highly actionable tasks.
The powerful effect about having my Masterlist was that I could simply pick out a couple of to-do’s each day, and work my way up to completion of every single task. This way, I used the power of momentum and quick-wins to get- and keep me going. I visually saw the progress I was making, which gave me the belief and confidence that I could actually pull it off.
All in all, chunking is awesome. By working with smaller to-do’s instead of the gigantic task of ‘building a business’, you’ll have much less stress, less overwhelm and a much better overview of the process. Furthermore, you’ll improve your productivity and focus like crazy. All in all, it’s one of the best ways to tackle seemingly overwhelming projects and goals.
How Chunking Will Get You Out of Overwhelm
Not chunking your projects or goals is like staring at a big mountain and having no plan for how to climb it. You’re looking continuously at the top and thinking ‘how the hell do I get there??’ You feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the size of it all. This is a sure way to feed your fears, get stressed out and quit early on.
But by chunking your projects, you’re simply looking at the next steps you can take. You work from checkpoint to checkpoint, and you visually see the progress you’re making. You’re not just looking at the top of the mountain every single time thinking ‘how the hell do I get there’. Instead, you’re looking at the next step, and the next step, and the next step – until you’ll already find yourself halfway on your climb, without even realizing it. This is why chunking works wonders.
You no longer have to doubt about what to work on next. You no longer have to feel overwhelmed as your intimidating project has been made ‘snackable’ and approachable. All of a sudden, your project becomes less scary and less overwhelming.
Also, the bottleneck problem of ‘I don’t know how/where to start’ will be solved as your tasks are laid out on your Masterlist. Whenever you feel stuck, you can simply refer back to your Masterlist and pick out some of the (easy-to-accomplish) tasks and start tackling them as soon as possible.
As you’ll be taking action much more easily, you’ll quickly find yourself getting momentum – and that’s the key to getting un-stuck and out of overwhelm as soon as possible. Remember, inaction and procrastination feed overwhelm, stress and fear – massive action kills it.
How Chunking Will Improve Your Focus
As you now have a clear overview of what has already been done and what still needs to be done, you create a very strong overview of your project. In other words, you’ll have great clarity, which is key for high cognitive performance. Clarity provides the ideal environment for focus to thrive.
When you no longer have to think, doubt, feel stuck or overwhelmed by your project, you free up valuable mental resources that can be used to focus completely on finishing the next tasks on your Masterlist.
Now Do It
Remember, change only happens when you take action. Therefore, as an action point for this article, use ‘Chunking’ as a powerful productivity technique for either the current project or the next project you’re working. I can guarantee you’ll find it much easier to get started, to keep going and to actually finish it.
Don’t forget to let me know how it went!
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab
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