Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Creating Success from the Inside Out - Chunk It Down

If you were a fly on the wall of my studio of late, you would find a half-crazed woman with glue on her hands, half-buried alive in boxes full of beads with a trail behind her of camera set-ups and half-made jewelry pieces.  Not to mention the pile of items by the computer yet to be described and added to Etsy.  Perhaps you can identify.  Indeed, it is the holiday season in the land of Etsy shop owners everywhere.

That’s why it’s serendipitous that the next principle in Jack Canfield’s self-improvement book, Success Principles, is Chunk It Down.  As busy Etsy shop owners in the midst of holiday madness, knowing how to take our goals and break them down into manageable tasks could prove helpful.  At the very least, re-reading this chapter may very well have saved my sanity.

In this chapter, Canfield discusses making overwhelming goals more attainable by breaking them down into a series of tasks from beginning to end.  He suggests a couple of different ways to do this.  One way is to work backwards from successful completion and identify each step along the way.  Another way is to create a mind map.  A mind map is pretty much a to-do list that is set up in a visual way.  Start off by writing your goal in the center of a big piece of paper and circling it.  You can also do this on post-it notes on your wall or on a magnetic board.  I prefer post-its because it’s dynamic (and because I’m completely addicted to them).  Divide your goal into major categories of tasksUnderneath each of these subcategories you can write your spokes or task items.  You can break it down as far as you need to until you get to individual tasks or steps.  I took my insane and unfocused attempt at my goal and turned it into a mind map that has structure to it (see below).  My major goal is to make a certain amount in sales by the end of the year.  That is written on the orange post-it note in the center of the map below.  Next, I identified my sub-categories (in pink).  In this case, I wrote the vehicles for my profits:  repeat customers, local shop sales, Etsy sales, and craft fair sales.  Lastly, I broke down into steps the things I need to do in order to generate more sales within each of these subcategories.  These tasks are written on small blue post-it notes.  I may break this down even further.

Once you have your mind map, you can use it to create daily to-do lists.  Ideally, you would create your next day’s to-do list the night before so that you are ready to go in the morning.

How do you chunk it down?  I’m interested in how you all organize your busy lives so that you can be efficient and focused when you do have time to devote to your business and your shop.  How are your holiday preparations going?  Please share!


  1. It's a great method. I did something like this when I was trying to transition from my day job to being self-employed and it worked well for me, but then I stopped being so organized :) I need to try this again just for daily To Do items. Just having a list doesn't work for me, but maybe if I scheduled out the day and was realistic about what can be done in 24 hours I would accomplish more. Great post!

  2. Thanks Ryan. I have to say this mind map has really helped me to stay focused. I've done lists before and they just didn't work for me. I love post-its because they can be rearranged and when they are complete I have the gratifying feeling of taking it down and recycling it.

    Additionally, I've since started making little post-its when I come across something new I want to try or do for my shop and I stick it on the wall. Once I get through this season, I'm going to look at my overall goals for 2013 and these post-its will be organized into that new mind map.

  3. This looks like a great way to stay on track. I've really lost my focus lately. I'm going to try this! Thanx for sharing Lisa!