How To Turn A BHAG Into No Problem At All

AmyPurpose and Potential, Stress Management, Time Management0 Comments

Go step-by-step using the 4 Cs

You’ve got a situation. Something you’re worried about. You don’t know where to start. And the more you procrastinate, the more it festers. You’re getting increasingly stressed out about it. Your brain can’t seem to do anything else without this thing creeping in.

The 4 Cs is a step-by-step process that will get you unstuck so you can move towards success. The process works in many circumstances:

  • Short-term, like something you need to get done by the end of the day or week
  • Medium-term, a challenge that needs to get done in 3-6 months
  • Long-term, for a project that you want to accomplish in the next year or two

What are the 4 Cs?

Clarify.

The first step of the 4 Cs is Clarify. Define your problem/project/goal. You can’t get your arms and brain around something that doesn’t have clear boundaries. Zoom in on it as much as you can and create a SMART goal:

S: Specific

M: Measureable

A: Action-Oriented

R: Realistic

T: Time-Bound

Then, visualize success.

  1. What does it look like when you get to the finish line?
  2. How will you feel?
  3. What will it do for you?
  4. How will it help others?
  5. Why is it important?

The answers to these questions will keep you motivated.

Chunkify.

Next, chunkify. Okay, I admit it. “Chunkify” is a made-up word.

But it means what you think it would: breaking something down into small, manageable, digestible chunks. For example, instead of thinking about writing a whole book, the chunks would be chapters. The chunks are mini-projects.

As you chunkify, consider whether you have everything you need to move forward:

  • Resources: people, time, money?
  • Approvals?
  • Preparatory steps?
  • Research?
  • Purchases?
  • What else?

Once you are adequately prepared, ignore the original goal temporarily and instead work on the chunks—the milestones that will take you to your goal. For each chunk or mini-project, identify the 3 main tasks it will take to get it done. If there are more than 3 tasks, re-chunkify; you’ll need to break it down again so it is easier to deal with.

Now that you’ve clarified your overall project/problem, and you’ve broken it down into its main pieces, you need to decide when are you going to do the tasks associated with each piece.

Calendar.

The third piece of the 4Cs is to calendar. Now, it’s time to schedule each of the pieces on a timeline.

What is the duration for each piece? Specify which day(s) and what time(s) you will work on which tasks. Use quarters, months, weeks, days to help you assign each chunk.

And don’t forget. Most things take longer than you think they will, especially if they are new to you.

Consistency

With regard to your tasks, what will you need to do repetitively to hit your target? When developing systems, consistency is the name of the game.

James Clear has a fabulous article about systems. He is a great resource, and I’m a huge fan.

Goals are moot if you don’t figure out the systems to get you there. You need to establish habits or routines to get you to the next mini-goal.

Break things into simple tasks so that they don’t overwhelm you. Simple tasks to achieve small goals. And many small goals compounded start to be something to sing about. And as you see the small goals stacking up, you gain the confidence to keep going. Before you know it…you’ll be at that “Big Hairy Audacious Goal,” coined by Jim Collins that was giving you such agita.

Just remember the 4Cs:

  1. Clarify
  2. Chunkify
  3. Calendar
  4. (And be) Consistent

…and get past your overwhelm to new levels of success.

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