Q: How do you eat an elephant? A: One bite at a time.
This solid advice came from my teenager the other day. Shocking, yes. They really do have their moments of insight and intelligence.
I have found my schedule overwhelming since taking on a retainer with a political candidate. I realized that I didn’t have a clue what I was getting myself into when I took on the gig. I went with the ideology that I’ll dive in and learn to swim.
It’s a good strategy for entrepreneurs in so many ways. Start before you’re ready, and learn as you go. But over the last few months, I was also tasked with new and exciting projects I really wanted to take on.
Needless to say, my capacity is maxed out and I still try to squeeze in small projects from loyal clients to ensure that my business will keep rocking even when the retainer ends in four months.
Keeping my head above water is a daily goal, while also making sure I step away for breaks so I can keep sane as well as produce great designs.
Little bites are a great way to help eat through the elephant-sized to-do list — and manage your workflow.
There are so many apps out there that people have found value in keeping on top of their work. Nancy, Owner of Creatives Roundtable, swears by llamalife.co. I considered giving it a go, and I can see how the structure of creating a list of tasks with a timer for each can help to focus and take little bites out of big projects.
I’m working with a low-tech version of the Llama Life concept. Using the myWeek to write down what needs to get done, then noting the time to work on each task, and then simply using the timer app on my iPhone. Sure, there is no tracking, but I am finding making the effort to a type of Pomodoro technique does help. I notice a difference so when I blink and a deadline appears, I am that much closer to being on top of things.
Understanding your own capacity, learning how to say no, even managing a client schedule so everyone’s needs can be met is a valuable skill set. But more importantly, knowing how to break down a project into smaller milestones so you can keep moving forward not only gets you where you need to go but keep your sanity intact.
Join the conversation in the Creatives Roundtable Slack group. Community helps us all stay sane!
Written by Crystal Reynolds