Wednesday 17 August 2016

You can't eat an elephant whole #wol

A few weeks ago I had a nice surprise when I received a comment on my blog post which was not spam. I choose to monitor comments and whilst they are few and far between, I delete those that have no relevance. Well this comment was relevant. I confess to doing a little happy dance whenever a comment leads to an extended discussion, no matter how brief!

Simon Fogg  took the time leave a comment  on my last post to say:

"... just to encourage you, people are reading :) ... I am up to nearly a million page views on my blog and have never written for an audience (as you will quickly tell from older posts), mainly as a place online to host my content that is accessible wherever I am connected to the internet ..."
I then of course checked out Simon's blog, which was an interesting journey in itself (lots more to learn from Simon, but that's scope for another post). The immediate connection was 'working out loud' and I noted a post he had written which included Michelle Ocker who instigated the #WOL circle I am now involved in. 

Simon also tweeted a post in relation to my blog post

The elephant technique Simon referred to is useful when you are faced with very large tasks, i.e. elephant sized tasks. In my previous post I had talked about taking small steps and celebrating these as progress. 

So what are elephant tasks? I looked up TMI's Elephant Technique to remind myself. They give examples like:

  • Overwhelming tasks demanding prolonged effort
  • Tasks in which little progress can be seen after each stage
  • Tasks often put off or reduced in priority in the short term.
I could certainly relate to these, the treadmill being a personal one and the juggling of multiple projects in my working life. The advice given is to:

  • Divide the elephant into "bite-size" pieces.
  • Schedule regular "bites" of the elephant as "task of the day", "task of the week", etc.
  • Make sure you "eat" a bite every day in addition to completing your other routine tasks.
  • Make sure you finish the elephant.
  • Concentrate on no more than 1 or 2 elephant tasks at a time. 
I think I would add try not to be eating too many different elephants at any given time....

Mastering the Elephant Technique enables you to progress from a 'maintenance' person (just getting by to maintain the status quo) to a 'development' person (embrace learning new skills and ensuring goals are translated into actions).

When I met with my #WOL circle we talked about some of the things we could do to make sure we recorded the progress of the tasks we were setting ourselves. The examples we shared included:
  • Having a pocket notebook as an ongoing to do list
  • Getting a good old fashioned diary that has a week to a page on the left and a notes page on the right.
    Tip: Moleskin do a great 18 month diary July-Dec. 
  • Using our smartphone and the Notes app
  • Using an app like Todoist via your phone, tablet, or desktop.    


The Elephant Technique 

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