So how often is it? Daily? Several times daily? Everyone does it occasionally, and then…
As you face a project, it can feel overwhelmingly big regardless of its real size. You only want it to be finished — yesterday. So, you push yourself to get started, hunker down, and attack it until it’s done. As you walk away, you are exhausted and hope you never see a project like that again.
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Every achievement is born of many small processes. We forget this when we experience or hear of completed projects. We also forget this principle when we encounter successful individuals or organizations. On this side of achievement, people talk more about the success versus the process of many incremental steps, some forgotten, that achieved it. Your imagination can lead you to think that the successful finish came easily and quickly. Then, you may wonder why you have not achieved the success you want or why you must work so hard for your successes.
It’s important to have goals. Your brain uses a stated goal to assist with focus, attention, and management of limited processing capacity. However, attention to a process including incremental achievements – mini-goals – leads to achieving the overarching goal. An incremental approach works especially well for creative, strategic, and problem-solving work.
There are several advantages to an intentionally incremental approach.
- It gives your brain time to work.
- When you get a good night’s sleep, your brain reorganizes things and takes out the trash. That’s why you wake with new perspectives. As your brain does its work, you may have flashes of insight that can only come with time.
- When you walk away from the project and get involved in something else for a time (a break), you can return to the project with a new perspective.
- It helps you sustain productivity for the long term without burning out.
- It can make better use of your energy. Your brain is only 2% of your body weight but requires 20% of your energy resources. Cycling into and out of the increments of the project can give your brain time to recover energy through proper nutrition and rest. This cycling is one way to avoid “brain fog.”
You can reap the advantages of an incremental approach only through planning, patience, and discipline. You can’t hurry the process. You may not produce as much in the short term, but you will most likely produce more in the long term and with greater quality.
If you like to “get ‘er done” and finish it all in one sitting, you may be taking poor advantage of the way your body naturally works. Try to see each increment as a completed task to be celebrated.
If you are interested in trying an incremental approach, choose one project to do in this fashion. Click here for several ways to approach it.
If I may assist you in implementing it, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.