10% Now May be Better Than 100% Later

Photo by Minxlj

Have you ever heard of "chunking" in a productivity context?  It's probably a distant relative to batching, where you group like-tasks and then do them at the same time.  Chunking on the other hand, is that simple process of taking a project and dividing it into bite-sized pieces that can be tackled, one step at a time.

What's a Project?
All of the following are projects:

  • Doing your grocery shopping for the week

  • Buying your Aunt Helen a gift for her 75th birthday

  • Completing your budget review for the next fiscal year

In short, a project is anything that requires multiple steps in order to be completed.  That's the good news.  The flip side is that your project list just grew exponentially!

Why 10% Now?
The 10% now thinking that inspired this post is really simple and it has roots in the classroom.  My senior students are notorious for waiting until the last minute to complete their papers and projects.  They currently have about six weeks to complete their final assignment in high school and yes, most will wait until the final days to even begin their work.  I can relate- I was a chronic procrastinator too.

The idea is simple: do something, anything now that works towards the completion of your project.  This has several benefits including:

  • Emotional: you'll feel better about yourself because you'll be overcoming procrastination

  • Physical: you'll be engaging the mind, sharpening your abilities to start and then finish something

  • Social: you'll be setting a good example for those around you

But It's Genetic!
Several studies have been tossed around in the last few years, citing the genetic qualities of procrastination.  Interestingly enough, scientists have found ways to stimulate certain genes and suppress others, turning even the laziest of monkeys into workaholics.  In humans, a small tipping point, in this case doing 10% now, will also trigger something in us that will accomplish the project better than if we had waited until the last minute to accomplish things.

How to Begin
In order to practice the 10% now concept, start with a simple project that we all can relate to: laundry.  In my house, we do the laundry on the first floor and then put everyone's pile of clothes on the steps going upstairs.  When a person goes upstairs for something, they take their pile of clothes with them.  Sure, I could do all of the 'laundry steps' at once, but by chunking it delegates some responsibility to other members of the family and makes it easier for me.

Which projects do you currently have that can use a little 10% of movement?