volleyball_girl_6_0Tough goals need to be accomplished in stages, in much the same way volleyball players get the ball over the net. You may be accomplishing these goals with a team of coworkers or as a team of one. Whether your are delegating to others or doing the next step yourself, the better the set, the better the spike.

When you give your team clearly defined goals and instructions, it is more likely that you will get the results you seek. This is less obvious when we are a team of one.   This could be for a goal that’s as important as “create website for Acme” or as mundane as “organize home”. What both of these goals have in common is that they are too big to put on a to-do list.  I’ll choose the latter example to demonstrate, since it’s what I know best.

A to-do list is a collection of tasks you are essentially delegating to yourself. For this to-do list to be effective the tasks must be like good set ups in volleyball, except that is YOU who will be doing the spike. So don’t set something that is too far over your head. Subdividing by room is a start, but it’s even more effective to break it down further. The home office, for example may go like this:

Set 1. “clear desk surface”

Set 2. sort the contents into simple categories, including “items to file.”

Spike! file items from desk.

You will be much more likely to spike your task if the set is focused like “clear desk surface”than if it is overwhelming like “organize home office.”

Where the volleyball analogy may fall short is the fact that in real life, your goals often get interrupted. That’s OK. In this example, if the spike has to wait until tomorrow it will still be easier to file a sorted pile of “items to file” than if it was mixed in with yesterday’s mess on the desk.  You have advanced forward on your bigger goal because you have given yourself a series of smaller more manageable sets and that has put you in a better position to deliver a spike in the right place.

TODAY’S KEY TO UNLOCKING CLUTTER: Break down your big goals into a manageable series of sets and spikes.