Originally published on 20 March 2007.
There is an old joke, “How do you eat an elephant?” to which the punchline is, “One bite at a time.”
You can call this by many names: baby steps, slow and steady, breaking things down into actionable pieces. But they all mean the same thing. Little bits of effort add up to a lot over time.
I apply this to all parts of my life. It is an underlying concept of GTD…”what is the very next thing I need to do to move this forward?”. I use it when I’m generally overwhelmed, or when I’m procrastinating or when I’m trying to tackle something big that I don’t think I can complete.
I recently took my first downhill skiing lesson, and the concept of babysteps really applied. My instructor told me that if I can make my way side to side down a mountain, I can tackle it. Sure enough, I went down the mountain, slowly, side to side. And when I got to the bottom, I was amazed that I had managed to get down such a steep slope in one piece.
How was it accomplished? A little bit at a time.