When a project is too big, it can be difficult to make progress. But when you break it down into smaller pieces, suddenly you can enjoy the process, and still move ahead. Here’s how.


break it down

One bite at a time.

I know — you want the whole pie. Because it looks so good and tasty. Welcome to the world of the creative man. Because that’s you. You want it all. And you can have most of it. But at the moment, you’re overwhelmed. And you may be overwhelmed because you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Or, at the other end of the creative spectrum, you may not have taken any bite at all, because it’s such a big pie. And you’re not sure where to dig in. But there is a place in between these two extremes, where you can make steady progress on your projects, and still feel good about yourself. Here’s how.

Smaller pieces.

This is the secret to a satisfying creative life: break down whatever projects you’re working on into smaller, bite-sized pieces. And then act on those pieces, making adjustments as you go. And this is what you’re not doing effectively right now. Which is why you feel overwhelmed. And yes — it’s a metaphor. But it works for whatever you’re overwhelmed with. Imagine that what you’re overwhelmed by is an actual pie. Take that pie and cut it up into slices. And then, serve yourself a slice, and take one bite. And chew that one bite. Swallow, and repeat.

Let’s go a little deeper.

Please watch this brief (under 20 minutes) talk on the power of breaking big projects down into smaller pieces — and why it works — and then come straight back for today’s takeaway.

Will you do it?

Because any significant change begins with action. So — will you take a project (any area of your life that involves creativity, including personal relationships) and break that big project down into smaller pieces? Because as Stephen Duneier has just laid out for us, success comes from this process of breaking down what seems too large to accomplish into it’s smaller component pieces, and then acting on those smaller pieces. 

If so, please do this.

  1. Decide on a project.
  2. Break it down into smaller pieces.
  3. Act on one of those pieces.
  4. Adjust your process.
  5. Do it again.
  6. Notice that you’re making progress
  7. Smile. (It’s OK to enjoy your success.)

Take a small step today.

Will you do it?

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