Thursday, August 11, 2011

One bite at a time

This week I'm reminded of one of my former bosses' favourite sayings: " How do you eat an elephant?" she'd ask, then answer. "One bite at a time."

I was an account executive at the time, and the hundreds of thousands of Rands that I was supposed to generate each month was scary, because there was always that concern of where I was going to find the clients who would spend that much money. But to her it seemed straightforward: if you made your designated 100 cold calls per day, got at least five people to schedule a meeting and had 3 show up and one of them bought something, you'd have at least one sale per day, everyday, she said. And it did seem to work, because as long as I made the cold calls, I never ran out of prospects. And usually, I'd get more than one sale per day.

However, my usual instinct when faced with a big project is to jump in with both feet and do as much as I can until I've completed it or crash and then have to recuperate afterwards.  But that approach does not work for very big projects and the whole thing just gets overwhelming and that's just counter-productive.
The other challenge is that it's easier to do the work when you have immediate deadline. You're motivated because you have to deliver now or else. When the deadline is much farther, there is the temptation to procrastinate and I really have to resist that.
Anyhoo, work is fine. Still doing the publishing project. Also working on a new client web site. But the latter is pretty straightforward. It's a small company that doesn't have any web presence - so I'm basically doing the "this is who we are and what we can offer you" kind of site, with a blog, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn integration.
How are you and how do you deal with big projects, be they writing or any other type?

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