Examples of exactly how to take a big task and turn it into small manageable parts
Big ideas are overwhelming for people with dyslexia. There are so many different little things to keep up with and so many steps that can feel paralyzing. Luckily, we just hosted a master class on Breaking Down Big Tasks with Mike Tickle.
Mike Tickle is the owner and creator behind differentlywired.co.uk, and he recently talked to the Hive about his approach to breaking down big tasks into smaller ones. When he is not running differentlywired.co.uk, he is a software developer and project manager.
Mike's 2 Big Steps for Breaking down Big Tasks
List all the sub-tasks
Assess Sequence & Parallel tasks
As a note, we will be using cooking dinner as our big task for the rest of the blog, but you can easily substitute it for any topic or task you need a little help with.
List all the sub-tasks:
List out all the sub-tasks is precisely what it sounds like. We will list out all the tasks involved with making dinner in no particular order.
After you list out all the subtasks that come to mind, it is time for the next step.
Assess Sequential & Parallel tasks:
You will look at your list and, give it a little reorganization & label out dependencies.
So what we did was look at our list and reorganize it. We broke down any tasks that were too big, like "check we have all the food & tools needed," into two tasks, "check we have ingredients" and "check we have tools needed."
We reorganized our list by steps to be taken in a particular order, like "decide what to eat" has to be listed before "send partner to store."
We also circled any tasks dependent on other tasks like "make grocery list" and "send partner to the store." Our partner is dependent on us making a list so that they can go to the store, and we are dependent on them to go to the store to cook the food.
Then we re-wrote the list and added in some steps we were missing.
Breaking down tasks like this is a big-game changer when it comes to managing big ideas or projects. We also wanted to share a few other tips that Mike shared with us that we think could help anyone struggling with breaking down big tasks:
Break tasks down into timeframes that you can manage. If you can only focus for 15 minutes, break tasks into 15-minute increments.
Make sure you give yourself enough structure to get started while also allowing for some flexibility—build-in extra time or room for tasks you know you can't anticipate.
Use visual structures like mind maps, lists, and pictures to split tasks until they are in manageable steps.
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