The business world is filled with buzzwords, and here’s one everyone should know: chunking. It has nothing to do with peanut butter, but if you’re someone who struggles with burnout, it’s just as delicious. As WordSmithRapport founder and CEO Karima Mariama-Arthur writes in a Black Enterprise post titled “The Power of Chunking: 5 Steps That Radically Reduce Burnout,” the term refers to “reducing a goal into its smallest components.” Chunking helps you streamline your efforts, in other words, and increase your chances of accomplishing your goals, so it’s a skill worth having.
And as luck would have it, Mariama-Arthur has some excellent tips for how to become a grade-A chunker. Read on to see how you can become more productive — which might leave you with more time to eat peanut butter.
1. Get a Clear Picture — What’s the goal you’re trying to accomplish? It seems like an obvious question, but many people start with only a vague notion of what they’re after, and that only makes things more difficult. Mariama-Arthur advises setting a “measurable target,” since it gives you something specific to work toward.
2. Set a Deadline: There’s a certain motivation that comes with having a deadline, and what’s more, setting a timetable helps you figure out how to delegate resources. They key, Mariama-Arthur writes, is to not pick a drop-dead date willy-nilly. “Being impulsive can cause you to be premature in your assessment, while being overly cautious can cause you to delay unnecessarily,” she writes.
3. List Underlying Tasks — As they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and after that first step, there’s a second, then a third, and so on and so forth. As you work toward your goal, make a list of all the tiny tasks you’ll need to complete along the way. As Marima-Arthur says, “underlying tasks are the foundation of any goal,” and with this step, you want to break a big giant goal into easily manageable pieces.
4. Schedule Those Task — Once you know what you have to do, set a timeline for doing it. Use a day planner or electronic organizer to keep yourself on target, and you’ll be less likely to let things slip your mind. As with deadlines, though, Mariama-Arthur warns against scheduling tasks haphazardly. Really think about how much time it’ll take to finish each thing.
5. Keep Tabs on Progress — You’re your “best barometer,” as Mariama-Arthur writes, so keep tabs on your progress and ask yourself honestly whether you’re where you need to be. If not, you may need some “course correction,” but provided you make adjustments early, you should be in good shape.