Monday, October 7, 2013

Day Eight: Bite-Sized Manageable Pieces

Grab your calendar and let’s approach breaking down your goal into bite-sized manageable pieces. The goal here is not to look at your list and think “OMGoodness, how am I ever going to tackle this monstrous task?” The Answer: Not all at once. Use the questions below as an exercise to breaking things down into manageable pieces + build in a back-up plan so that you can cut yourself some slack.

Let’s start with daily habits. 5 questions to ask:

1. Am I a morning person or night person?
2. When do I want to do this daily habit?
3. Despite what I want, when I am actually more likely to complete this task?
4. How much time do I realistically have to complete this task?
5. If I don’t complete this task in the allotted time, can I schedule a back-up time to complete the task?

For example, I want to pray and read my Bible daily. I want to schedule an hour in the morning. My back up plan is an alarm set for 6pm because I’m human and am not always ready to greet God with a smile in the morning. Sometimes it’s more of a morning mumble grumble, “Thank you Jesus… garble garble garble.” By the evening I may be able to form a more coherent sentence so I try again in the evening so I build in the back-up plan.

Second let’s look at your more long term goals. 
10 questions to ask:

1. Is there an actual due date on this goal?
2. Is this a self-imposed due date or an external due date?
3. How many months do I have? Weeks? Days?
4. Can I break the task up into segments of completion? How many segments?
5. Can I set deadlines for those individual segments?
6. How much time do I want to dedicate to this goal each week? Daily?
7. How much time can I actually dedicate to this goal each week? Daily?
8. Where can I schedule in catch-up days?
9. Where should I put my half way point? Quarter way point? 1/3 point?
10. Where can I schedule my back-up plan if I get off-track?

For example, if you want to start writing a book. You decide you want a first draft in three months. You have approximately 90 days; your check in point is 45 days in, and you can schedule catch-up time on the weekends. You decide you want to write 30 chapters. So you break that up into 10 chapters every 30 days. Then you break it down into 30 page long chapters. This will require a time commitment of approximately ten pages a day. If you take three hours to write ten pages, then you’ll need to schedule accordingly. Of course writing a book isn’t quite so formulaic and likely should not be. Nor should you take my example literally. 

The idea is to look at the end date and work backwards, breaking down the goal into manageable pieces. If an hour a day for a few months meant you could have the novel you dreamed of writing, then perhaps the task doesn’t seem so formidable. If 15 minutes a day of keeping a food journal means you could create a good habit and eventually meet a health goal, then perhaps those 15 minutes a day become more worthwhile. Maybe you cannot commit daily, but you can commit to a big block of time on the weekends. Then schedule accordingly.

Play with different scheduling scenarios and try them out. Maybe after a few days you decide, “I am not a morning gal” or “An hour a day is just not going to work, but I can squeeze in half an hour.” This schedule is not a rule book to swear by. The schedule is only a tool to help you get from planning to doing!

To Read 31 Days of Dream. Plan. Do. from the beginning click here


  1. Hi Judith, Thank you for these awesome, much needed scheduling tips! I love the idea of choosing a time of day to accomplish something. It seems like I always let the day get away from me. By the time I pick up my son at 3:30, I am tied up with him for the rest of it. If I could break down each task into how long it will take and the best time to do it, as you suggested, I would be a lot more successful.
    I also need to set deadlines. I keep thinking I have all the time in the world for certain tasks so they keep dropping to the bottom of my never ending list...

  2. When I break down tasks into time slots I try to be flexible in my time slots. You have a son so the precious time you have after you drop him off and before you pick him up can be so valuable. So try and be flexible in your time slots. 1/2 hour to an hour can be a good chunk of your alone time so maybe start 10-15 minutes just to get going. I have to tell myself this everyday because I get really dogmatic with my to-do lists. =) I'm glad you're still following along!

  3. Great advice! Thanks, Judith. I am really enjoying the series. You have inspired me to make out a daily schedule and create time slots for different general tasks throughout the day: blogging, cleaning, bills,... I have a hard time staying focused. This would help me stay on track. I agree though that I need to be flexible. I get pretty dogmatic too :)!