I want to teach you about a method I use on a regular basis to make big tasks or projects easy to complete. First let me tell you the reason why I usually can't get a big project done. I'm going to use the project: writing my last book The Float Tank Cure.
IT SEEMS TOO BIG - when you keep a task as one big entity it naturally holds a huge heavy place in your brain and thus you never even get started. For example: I originally had planned to start my book in the fall of 2014. I knew every week I had "writing time" scheduled and I assumed it would just get done. I even went so far as to assume I would get a chapter done a month. Each week I would put in a small amount of effort, and then justify my way out of the rest. Thinking "I always have more time" well as 2014 came to an end, it turns out I didn't. The book HAD to be done and sent for editing by June 1st, and I was losing time fast. I had to do something.
As usual, I changed my approach. My current way of thinking wasn't working. I decided to break up a book into small bite size pieces. Hell, I knew the chapters and topics why didn't I think of it like a series of blogs? Blogs aren't scary right? That's when I used the "Breakup and Schedule" method. It's this simple.
1. Identify the smaller pieces of your big project - Just start listing all the smaller pieces you need to get done. For instance mine was a chapter of writing each week for two 4 hour sessions, but I didn't stop there. I would actually break that into smaller pieces. One work session of study and brain dumping, one session of reading and refining. I also was working with an AMAZING editor named Amy Anderson. See her company here. So I knew I would get back that chapter and have revisions to do for another week. Here's how it broke out:
Chapter 1 - study and brain dump
Chapter 1 - Read and Revise
Chapter 1 - Fix issues and edits
Chapter 1 - Final revision
Ok so I knew the parts of each chapter, and if I took a part on Monday and a part on Friday it would take two weeks per chapter. I broke out the rest of the chapters in the same fashion and now I had a real book plan. Here's the trick:
The scheduling is where much of the magic happens.
Next thing I broke out every single small piece and gave it an actual date. Literally print out a list of your small pieces and begin dating everything. Also, if you know things don't go as planned for you (like most people) schedule some BONUS days, just to be sure.
Once you've made it this far I feel like 50% of the mental pain is over. Now you just "SHOW UP". More on showing up here.
Now each week comes around you and you just do what your calendar says. If you for some reason can't get that calendar task done you'd better figure out a way to complete it before you next calendar task. If you can't get it done before the next you're going to create a big damn mess and possibly fall flat on your face. FIGURE IT OUT! Don't let that happen.
Now I have to admit something embarrassing. Even though I learned this lesson "already" I have another book set to be done Spring 2016 - Meditation Made Simple, and I HAVEN'T DONE A DAMN THING ON IT YET! lol As my commitment to practice what I preach, here is my book schedule to get it done in time.
Here it is:
Chapter 1 - Listen and Translate // November 2
Chapter 1 - Listen and Translate, send to editor // November 9
Chapter 1 - Revisions and Polish // November 13
Evaluate and Schedule remainder of book // November 13
Update November 13th 2015: The chapter scheduling method does not work well in writing this new book. Essentially I'm translating a book that is already written. After 3 days of writing I realize it's going to be a percentage thing. I found the text for the original Meditations and pasted it into a google doc, it equaled 101 pages. So far as of today I've done 12. So 12 pages divided by three days equals:
12 pages / 3 days = 4 pages a day. Now I will schedule out another stretch of the book like this:
Pages 12-15 : November 20th
Pages 16-19 : November 23rd
Pages 20-23 : November 27th
Pages 24-27 : December 7th
Pages 28-31 : December 11th
Pages 32-35 : December 14th
Pages 36-39 : December 18th
Pages 40-43 : December 28
Pages 44-47 : January 1
Pages 48-51 : January 4
Pages 52 - 53 : January 8
Pages 54 - 57: January 22
Pages 58-61: January 25
Pages 62 - 65: February 1
Pages 66-69: February 5
Pages 70-73: February 12
Pages 74 - 77: February 15
Pages 78-81: February 22