Procrastination is that thing that causes people to put off doing what needs to be done. There are a million reasons why people procrastinate. One of the most common is that the things that need to be done are so big that the tasks seem overwhelming. When you are faced with a big task that needs to be done and procrastination rears its ugly head, do not fear. Instead, stand up straight, chin up, shoulders back and kick procrastination in the teeth. You can do this by breaking remembering how to eat an elephant.
When you look at an elephant, it is a huge monstrous, overwhelming creature. The thought of eating an elephant seems like an impossible task on the surface. However, it is possible to eat an elephant. In order to do it, you simply do it one bite at a time. If you take it one bite at a time, you can eat an elephant. Likewise, if you break down those big tasks that cause you to procrastinate, you can get them done. Let’s look at some of the big tasks I have on the table before me right now both personally and professionally.
* Publish four e-books by year end
* Increase blog audience by 200%
* Increase income for consulting firm
* Remodel two bedrooms for my children
* Complete all household maintenance projects
On the surface, each of these tasks seems incredible and impossible to manage. However, that could not be farther from the truth. I am excited about the opportunity to work on completing these tasks. Why am I optimistic about these tasks and being able to get them all done? I am optimistic because I know how to eat an elephant. As a result, I broke all five of those major tasks into small bite-sized pieces. Take the first task listed – publish four e-books by year-end. In order to do this task I need to do the following:
* Select topics for each book
* Write each book one at a time
* Edit each book
* Self-publish each book
Each of the sub-tasks listed here can be broken down even further. Take the first one for example:
* brainstorm a list of potential topics
* go through blog posts for potential topics
* look at the calendar for timeliness of one topic over another
* narrow down topics by picking best of two at a time and continue until four topics are left
As this example shows, if you work systematically, aka eat the elephant one bite at a time, you can break the tasks down into manageable pieces. When the tasks are broken down into bite-sized pieces, it is easy to handle them. Bite-sized tasks can be handled in just minutes at a time, rather than over the course of days or hours. Most people can endure, concentrate or work hard for minutes at a time. Working hard for minutes is nowhere near as scary as working hard for days, weeks or months at a time.
If you still do not know how you can apply this eat the elephant philosophy in your life with your tasks, try the following. Pick a big task of your own – a big project or an important task that you have been putting off because it is such a big job. Get out a pen and paper or your favorite electronic device and think of ways you can divide that big job into two parts. Once you have those two parts listed, break down each of those things into two parts. Then break each of the things now on your list into two parts. Continue working like this until each task is broken down into its simplest form. Then start eating your elephant. In other words, start doing the tasks one at a time, concentrating only on the current piece aka bite, ignoring all others. If you continue to work in this matter surely and steadily, you will get done all you need to do. You will eat your elephant.
In conclusion, it is terrific to know you can beat procrastination if you learn to eat the elephant. So, the question or you this terrific day is what elephant are you going to eat today?
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