How to Eat a Big Meal
Chunking is about taking a large task, like a life goal and breaking it down into smaller achievable pieces. For example getting 95% in your HSC is a big task in itself. When you look at it, it’s a daunting project to undertake and can be very overwhelming.
The challenge is that often when we set these important life goals or attempt a huge task the sheer size and amount of work involved is so scary that we put off taking any action – procrastination. The trick is to take the project and just like a huge meal, go at it one small chunk at a time. The easiest way to do this (a tool used in the business world to manage large projects) is to create what is called a MIND MAP. A mind map is a simple and yet very effective way to work out the many aspects involved in achieving a goal or project. The way in which you create a mind map is to first place a the goal or project in the center of a page and then stemming out from that write down each area that need s to be worked on. Then continuing out from that add the smaller chunks that need to be completed.
As an example, if you wanted to mind map a goal of getting 95% in your HSC then the chunks might be:
Studying – Actually learning the information needed for each class.
Keeping Balance – Doing things apart from the school work to stay focused and interested.
Managing States – take control of the way you feel about school and study.
Modeling Someone – Finding someone who has done well at the HSC and discover how they did it.
Preparing for Tests – Staying healthy and rested for the actual exams.
Once you have broken down the goal into chunks, the next step is to start creating your mind map. To do this, first write the main goal in the center of the page and circle it. Next write each mini-goal around the main goal and draw a line connecting the main goal and the chunks.
Next fill in everything that needs to be done to achieve each min-goal. For example, under the chunk of “model someone” you might have to “find someone who got a great mark”, “learn how this person took notes” and “model what this person did in exams”. Each of these are steps you need to take to complete the mini-goal once you have filled in the steps for each chunk you should end up with a mind map similar to the one below.
By now you should have a clear idea of everything that you need to do to achieve your goal. You will also probably feel like crawling into a cave never to be seen again due to the amount of work that has to be done. To make any goal happen there will always be effort involved. The trick is to not get so overwhelmed that you are paralyzed into doing nothing. Approach big goals just like a big meal “one bite at a time”
Work out the order in which each task needs to be completed. Start numbering each action on your mind map,
beginning at 1 for the action you need to complete first then 2 for the second action and so on and son on. If you find an action later on that needs to fit in somewhere, you can always use numbers like 2.1, or 1.4 to fit it in between actions that already have numbers.
Once you have numbered all the actions, the final step is to plot each action on a timeline along with a completion date. (This is a realistic date that indicates when the task must be completed). The timeline goes from the present until the time you have achieved the major goal.
Think of the timeline as a map of the stepping-stones to achieving your goal. Each stepping-stone is a little achievable piece of the puzzle, when the pieces are put together they make up the whole picture. The great thing is that when you focus only on the stepping-stone in front of you, it is no longer an overwhelming project and therefore becomes quite achievable. When you see each stepping-stone as achievable there is no longer a need to procrastinate.