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Today’s post starts with a caveat about Swiss Cheese—not the kind of cheese you see on the party platter, but the time management method of using small amounts of empty time to complete tasks.
The caveat: beware of using the Swiss Cheese time management method to an extreme. A few years ago my husband Terry and I discovered that we were both “doing one more thing” while we were waiting for the other person. However, it was easy to solve the problem with clear communication. Today if I am emptying the dishwasher and he is sorting the mail when it is almost time to head out the door, I simply ask him, “Are we each doing one more thing while we wait for each other?”
Another less often used description of the SwissCheese time management method is just as helpful as the one I described in the December 2016 post. In his book, Doing it Now, Edwin Bliss describes the Swiss Cheese Method as “Make yourself do any small thing toward completing your task. ‘Poke holes in the task’ until it doesn’t seem like such a big deal to finish it.”
Whether the task is to write a paper for school or create a proposal for a workgroup, start poking holes. The first hole to poke might just be to list all the details that will make up the task.
One hole for the school project might be to gather resources—that’s all, just do a quick internet search. Another hole might be to narrow the resources into the best five or ten by title. Another hole might be to skim one of the resources—you get the picture.
One hole for the work project might be to list what you already know. Another hole might be to list what you need to find out. Another hole might be to list people in the industry who could give good advice—again you get the picture.
Using the mindset of poking holes in a project until it seems manageable takes away any feelings of being overwhelmed and indeed makes the project manageable.
This Swiss Cheese method takes starting well ahead of the deadline and meshes well with the other Swiss Cheese method of using small amounts of free time.
By the time I write another post, another year will have started and I will adopt my annual anchor word. I am using some Swiss Cheese time to mull over what the 2017 anchor will be and have almost made my final decision.
Consider what you will emphasize for yourself in the coming year. Leave a comment if you wish.