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The Art of Chunking: Turning More into Less

A major source of stress in our lives comes from the feeling that we have an IMPOSSIBLE number of things to do.

We’ll often take an objective and pull it apart into a million pieces or tie it all together into one abstract whole.

For example, if you take on a project and try to do the whole thing all at once (i.e. eat the entire meal in one bite), you’re going to be overwhelmed. Similarly, if you take a task and break it into too many small steps, it’s equally overwhelming, daunting and frustrating.

Most people can only focus on a limited number of things at one time. When people are learning, they tend to remember things that are grouped into three’s.

In fact, how do most people count? 

One, two, three… too many!

Anything above three things becomes too much for us to remember.

KEY

Most people tend to get overwhelmed

after three different pieces—or chunks—of information.

So, I like to think in terms of Grouping Tasks to achieve proper Chunking.

“Grouping” together tasks so they can be used effectively to produce the outcome you want without stress or shutdown.

The number-one skill that will allow you to succeed at anything (while minimizing stress) is the ability to take a variety of action items and GROUP them together, orienting them toward a common intention and result. This is called “chunking.”

And, it is as much an Art as a Science.

Example: 

Suppose this is your list of To-Dos for your day:

  • Review Accounting Close
  • Visit Warehouse
  • Get Microsoft Project
  • Prepare Financial Statements
  • Reconfigure email response
  • Need 2nd Monitor- get IT to order
  • Write Board Package Memo
  • Schedule Inventory Count

 

Three of these action items (Review Close, Prepare Financial Statements & 

Write Board Package Memo) relate to Accounting.

Group them together, and now you’ve “chunked” them into one clear result you desire: to address the Monthly Close process and complete it fully.

When you start thinking of your To Do tasks as groups or clusters of desired outcomes, you’ll keep stress at bay and learn to focus on your greater goals—rather than getting overwhelmed by the minutiae.

And when you have a massive project, I recommend you work the process in reverse:

Write down your Action steps, assembling them in workable chunks.

 

This shift in thinking will make you work smarter and more effectively, and achieve success through massive productivity.

You’ll start to feel empowered—rather than forced—to follow through!