People have often commented that they are amazed at how prolific I am. And it’s true … I am prolific. But not in the way you might think. The truth be known, I’m “tortoise prolific.” Put another way, I’m “sneaky.” I have a good winning percentage, but it’s not a result of being extraordinarily smart or fast. Let me explain.
One of my most cherished strategies for being prolific is what I like to refer to as the Peck-Away Theory. Have you ever looked back and thought to yourself, “Gee, if I had just started that project six months ago and worked on it a little each day, I’d be done by now?” The time will pass anyway, so why not use it to accomplish something that you really want to get done?
Since I, like all busy people, can never hope to get around to getting everything done that I’d like to, I have a tendency to work on many projects simultaneously — especially if they’re tedious in nature. This runs the gamut from moneymaking projects of major importance to organizational and tidying-up tasks.
For example, if I have to review and make revisions to a contract, I might work on it a half-dozen times a day, ten to fifteen minutes at a crack. Since I intensely dislike this kind of work, I know I’d never find the time, or make the time, to do it from start to finish in one sitting.
While I’m working on the contract, I might also be running Disk Cleanup or Defrag on my computer. And while either of those programs are running, I might listen to, and take notes for, a CD that I need edited, perhaps in segments of fifteen to twenty minutes. From there, I might work on another draft of an article such as this one. And so on.
In a way, I guess this makes me a bit of an enigma, because I tend to be a very focused person. I always have one major project that I spend a majority of my time on each day, and I’m relentless when it comes to following projects through to completion.
Even so, I take periodic breaks from my main project and peck away at anywhere from five to ten other projects throughout the day. The result is that a task I may never have “found” the time to do ends up getting completed over a period of time.
My approach to pecking away at projects is somewhat related to a Japanese strategy for achieving goals known as Kaizen. The “Father of Taoism,” sixth century B.C. philosopher Lao Tzu, summed up Kaizen well when he said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first step.”
I guess my Peck-Away Theory is really just another way saying, “Make the time.” It’s just that I make the time to do many things rather than one. This strategy has paid enormous dividends for me over a period of many years. You might want to give it a try and see if it works for you.