Chunks

It has been an odd few days here, as I wrestle with a to-do list that isn’t horrific, but seems to be intractable. Despite hours of diligent work, it’s just one of those lists that won’t shift.  At  the end of the day all I am crossing off is things like "make dinner" and "tidy desk" and "drink coffee" (and I only put that on there so I would have something to cross off.) I can’t shift the big ones, like "get ready for Madrona".  I know that what’s wrong is that my list is too holistic – I’ve got big stuff on there like it’s one item when really it’s a whole bunch of little jobs that all have to be completed before the thing is done.  In reality, I’m totally kicking arse and taking names, I just don’t get to cross anything of of the fraking list until I’ve done all the little jobs, and that’s lame. I love crossing things off the list.

When Meg was little, she used to freak out when she saw a big job in front of her. It turns out that she’s a really holistic thinker – she sees the entirety of the task ahead and gets overwhelmed.  Her teacher that year (who was pretty much an angel, a brilliant, brilliant angel) said that she needed to learn to chunk tasks.  You don’t have to learn a hundred spelling words this month. You need to learn three today, and three tomorrow… it’s not that big a job if you split into easy little chunks. Don’t look ahead, don’t see the big picture. It’s too big. He was right, and the whole family has been practicing "chunking" ever since then – and I realized this morning that even though I’ve known this since then, and practiced it –  I have overlooked doing it on my to-do list.  "Get ready for Madrona" is a huge job, and really it’s a whole bunch of jobs and sitting there on my to-do list like a leviathan, I’m not going to be able to cross it off until the 12th of February.  If I split it up? I might be able to make some visible progress on the stinking list.

I’m going to try it with everything on the list.  "Finish baby sweater" should really be:
Get buttons.
Do math for button band.

(My mum chose the buttons. I like how when she brought them over she arranged them in a smile.)

Knit button band.
Sew on buttons.

See that? I get to cross off two!  "Make Lou a sweater" should really be:

Spin.

Ply a little bit and knit some swatches to see if it’s right.


(The top one is the winner, for anybody keeping track. Soft and bouncy and just spot on for gauge.)
Spin a full bobbin.
Spin another full bobbin.
Spin yet another full bobbin. 
Ply.
Set the twist.
Knit the sweater.
Sew on the buttons.

I wouldn’t get to cross much off there, but at least I can see something resembling progress. Something that keeps me from transferring everything on today’s list onto tomorrow’s list like it’s some horrible textile version of Groundhog Day.  "Make Lou a sweater" indeed.  I’m going to go re-write my whole list. It will be a lot longer, but at least I’ll finally get to cross something off.

118 thoughts on “Chunks

  1. I’ve never heard it described as “chunking” but I totally like it. I need to keep that in mind when I have my lists for work otherwise I get overwhelmed too. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’m a listmaker myself. It’s the only way I get anything done, and it helps me to keep all the crap I have to do in perspective. Some days your list should just say:
    ~get bottle of decent, though relatively inexpensive wine.
    ~pour a healthy-sized glass.
    ~relax.

  3. My midwife used the same reasoning to me when I was freaking out about only being 3-4cm after about 36 hours of labour. “No, don’t start thinking about having to get through the whole thing,” she told me, “just think about getting through the next contraction.” It makes no sense, and yet it makes ALL the sense.

  4. And… write post to blog .
    🙂 That’s wonderful advice and something most of us should learn!!

  5. Adorable sweater!
    Thanks for this post on breaking big jobs into smaller, manageable jobs. I needed that reminder. Oh . . . so . . . much.

  6. I also find it helpful to have two lists. The first one being the ‘big picture, everything I want to get done in the next month’ kind of list. Then I have my week or daily list which breaks many of those big picture items down into smaller tasks. I get the satisfaction of working through the task oriented list and eventually crossing it off the ‘big’ list.

  7. My son’s wonderful, wonderful teacher helps him chunk tasks.
    Also, with the line through it, your task looks like “Do meth for button bands.” I hate them, too.

  8. Thanks for saving me from pulling out the rest of my hair! I’m off to “chunk up” my To Do list!

  9. This is brilliant. One of those things that I find myself thinking, “How obvious! Why didn’t I think of that?!” And then I realize that I didn’t think of that because I was too busy freaking out about that “big picture.”
    Time to write some new to-do lists. Have fun at Madrona! That baby sweater looks lovely already. (Both of them, actually.)

  10. Anne Lamott wrote the wonderful book “Bird by Bird,” and the title comes from a great piece of advice her father gave her brother. The brother waited until just before a school report on birds was due, and when he despaired of getting this big report finished on time and wondered how he would ever be able to do it, their father told him, “Bird by bird.” Good advice for life.

  11. I hear you! I have starting writing lists of lists. If I can see that one task is actually a bunch of smaller steps, it gets it own piece of paper that is it’s own list. End result: lots of pieces of paper with crossed out items. Low on neatness. High on satisfaction. 🙂

  12. The David Allen GTD system defines any to-do item on your list that has more than one action as a “project” — then each project gets a ‘to do’ list starting with the first action item (you don’t even need to list all the action items at once, just the next step will do.
    I find it helps a lot to make things feel less overwhelming and more manageable.

  13. Okay, but Groundhog Day as a knitter would be like a nightmare! Every day when you get up everything you did the day before wasn’t done anymore!? Yikes!

  14. Today’s Chunks*are:
    *Chunk: small portion of large task
    Some clever stationer should do that up as a list pad, just like grocery list pads.

  15. Stephanie, I can’t thank you enough for that tip. I always work with lists for my ToDos – otherwise I’d just forget about all the things that need doing. And especially in the first few days of the new year I was so extremely disappointed that I could not cross off more than one, or on rare days two, items off that list, despite having spent an entire morning doing something usefull. I am rewriting my list right after finishing this reply.

  16. Love the concept of “chunking” the tasks… I am a rabid list maker; it is very satisfying to cross things off lists… 🙂

  17. This reminds me of something I heard on tv last night (think I was watching New Girl via DVR).
    “Do you know how you eat an elephant?”
    “With chopsticks?”
    “No?!?….one bite at a time.”

  18. In our house we call it “mouse vision”. Only look at one small task at a time. It really helps!

  19. It’s only taken me 55 years to figure this one out–your daughter was incredibly lucky to have an elementary teacher teach her (and family) at a young age. But even then we forget…..I love breaking the task down to the absolute nth degree so I have LOTS to cross off!
    Love the stripey sweater and your mum was very clever to get just the right button!
    Cheers, Barbie O.

  20. Don’t forget to put “chunking up the to-do list” on the todo list so you can cross that off.

  21. I’m a list-maker too. I’ve found lately that sometimes just *making* the list isn’t enough to get me productive…… So I’ve taken to numbering things in the order I need or want to do them in – somedays that really is what gets me going – seems that if there’s a number attached to the next thing, it takes the choice out of ‘what’s next’ and I keep moving forward….. I used to only number items on my list when I was doing errands (plotting most efficient route), but it seems to work for me on to-do lists as well.

  22. I’m also a big fan of lists and crossing things off. Recently I’ve been using http://www.workflowy.com because, if you want, you can view it by project so it is not so visually overwhelming. That said, there are lots of list maker apps out there. Paper is nice too….

  23. I probably should use that method for at least some of my to do lists. Some of them are just too huge to effectively get anything done on and don’t tend to remind me how or what I need to work on next in the task.

  24. Hah. As someone who has spent most of their professional life in project management, you’ve just described exactly how I work. And my home to-do list? Lists the big tasks, and each one has an indented list of sub-tasks.
    ….yeah, I love crossing things off the list too. 🙂

  25. Here I sit, at 60 years old, and you finally explained to me how to get thru my days. Chunking. Brilliant. Now on a post it note on my monitor.
    Someone once told me to make a DONE list instead of a TO DO list. Well, that turned out to be as depressing as hell. I could only manage a KINDA STARTED list.

  26. Be sure today’s list includes “make a detailed list” ! Then you can cross off THAT task.

  27. I just started a Dr. Who scarf – at least it changes colors occasionally. I can cross off each color of the 20 foot scarf.
    Just keep swimming.

  28. “Chunking”… I like that term. I need to start using that practice more when at work… and teach it to the teenage daughters so they can use it in school.

  29. hehehe Too funny 🙂
    I’ve worked using Agile Development Framework for quite a while and every single one of us, dev and non-dev alike, agree that agile is applicable to our entire lives, not just software development. I am pretty sure I’ve blogged about it too.
    its not that a person shouldn’t see the WHOLE picture (that’s a very desirable trait) they just have to learn how to work towards it without freakin’ out about the size of the job at hand.
    Tasks vs. Job 🙂
    I love your lists and yup, you usually do get to cross a lot off when you break down the tasks to the lowest common denominator.

  30. Oh, I love crossing things off of my to-do lists. I have been known to write things down after I’ve done them, just so that I can cross them off.
    Good luck getting things done before Madrona. I’m jealous 🙂

  31. I am practicing “chunk”ing, too, although I never called it that. My new obsession (which I have absolutely no affiliation with, so this is not an ad) is WorkFlowy, a web-based list-making site that you can also see on your iPhone, iPad, etc., and it all syncs together. It’s basically an outlining program, I guess? But to me, it’s a to-do list program that is easy to chunk, because when you look at one item and realize it’s too big, you can just hit return, tab, and start making a new list underneath that task. And you can do it anywhere, anytime, if you’ve got your phone on you, so it’s become totally integrated into my daily life. It’s awesomesauce.

  32. This was exactly the right thing for me to read with my morning coffee today. I have always practiced the list making and the breaking things down into manageable increments, but at the moment I am facing several mammoth and, sadly, distressing tasks, and over the last few days I seem to have forgotten all I ever knew about ‘chunking’. I have been paralyzed by fear and feeling utterly overwhelmed. Thankyou for reminding me of a better way. I am off to make lists, lots of lists. 😀

  33. Yes! You have just diagnosed me – a holistic thinker. In fact, I’m using an idea from another blogger about Lists of Six, and I posted yesterday that I don’t know how to chunk items. I just look at the whole big thing and muppet-flail. ( I put renewing a library book on mine for today just so I could consider something done.)
    Must. Learn. Reasonable. Chunking.

  34. I’m very much like this too. As a child, without understanding why I was doing it, I found a strategy that worked for me and that I use to this day.
    When the chore was cleaning my room (a truly huge job all the time) I would draw a diagram of my room on my chalk board. I would put in the major pieces of furniture like my bed and dresser. Then I put a grid over the room and numbered each space in the grid. I would write the numbers on little squares of paper, put that paper in an empty cup and then draw the section I would clean first. I’d clean up that section and then erase the square from the chalkboard.
    Then key to this game is that you can’t just move mess from one square to another. You have to put away everything from the square you are working on.
    Today, when I really need to clean the house and I have a good book I want to read instead or a Firefly marathon, I’ll do the same thing with pen and paper and pick the square (or 3) that I’ll do at every commercial or chapter ending.
    It makes my Mom crazy when I do this. She would rather I just get it DONE. But if that worked, I wouldn’t have a messy house much of the time.
    Oh, and a scaled down version is the sub-list for the lists. One item might be “Clean the kitchen” while underneath it, indented is “empty/load the dishwasher, wipe the counters, vacuum the floor” etc.

  35. Calvin had it right.
    “Problems often look overwhelming at first.
    The secret is to break problems into small, manageable chunks. If you deal with THOSE, you’re done before you know it.
    For example, I’m supposed to read this entire history chapter. It looks impossible, so I break the problem down”
    Hobbes: “You focus on reading the first section?”
    Calvin: “I ask myself, ‘Do I even care?'”

  36. Katie @ 4:13 PM: I was so delighted the first time I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who does this!

  37. Love the “chunking” concept. My friend Connie gave me another word for that thing that happens when you put your head on the pillow, your eyes pop open and the brain won’t turn off. She calls it “squirrel-caging”. Keep crossing those thingies off your list. I love them, too.

  38. I worked with a woman at a fabric store who made the job list at the end of the day and crossed everything off
    so that the manager could see what we had accomplished that day,
    set up sale, straighten drapery rolls, stock thread rack, order bridal notions, etc.

  39. Yep. Don’t think about the mountain you need to move. Just concentrate on the shovelful of dirt in front of you.

  40. I just had my ‘aha’ moment. Thank you.
    From now on I will chunk, chunk, chunk. No wonder nothing ever gets done!!!

  41. I have similar issues with lists.
    I’ll only write down things that need remembering, say, and then the whole time I’m doing tasks I know I need to do, I feel like I’m not getting things done.
    So now on days when the list isn’t moving I list things like ‘homeschool’ and ‘play game with kids’ so that I don’t feel like they’re not important because they’re not on the list.

  42. Juran’s Elephant – how do you eat an elephant. One piece at a time.
    I had to drill that into my husband and daughter who both freak out when they have a big complicated problem to solve.

  43. My son laughs because I put things on my list just so that I can cross them off. I love the sense of accomplishment. We tend to “chunk” things around here too.

  44. When I worked, I used spreadsheets as RobinH, 3:43, described. Some employers used project management software, but Excel is perfect, especially for household and personal lists.
    My lists are rather sparse anymore. My Christmas to-do list is an Excel spreadsheet and I just rename it each year. I have several tabs across the bottom. I don’t type “make candy”; I name the candies. I don’t type “buy gifts” or “send xmas cards.” No, I have a tab for people to whom I give gifts. One column is for gift ideas and one column for what I’ve purchased or made. I have a column for placing check marks when each is finished. One item is to print address labels (’cause my handwriting is so sloppy), one item is to write notes in cards; one item is to mail cards — those individual tasks can be spread over a few weeks.
    Spreadsheets are perfect because you can insert or delete rows and columns. The SS is always evolving.
    … think I’ve always chunked …
    I’m not a slave to the list, but it keeps me on track.
    This retired woman doesn’t use extensive lists anymore, and when I do, they usually are handwritten on Post Its. I still love crossing them off. Like some of you, I will write something down that I’ve already accomplished just so I can cross of something!
    I had a boss who always said, “Plan your work; work your plan.”

  45. Oh, I am SO much a list maker. Nothing makes my day more than crossing things off. Which may be entirely silly, but if it makes me happy…then everyone will be happier. So you go, girl! (I got to sign up for one of your workshops in Minneapolis for Yarnover. I am very pleased…)

  46. A wonderful suggestion I saw on a pregnancy calendar a while back was to make a “Did Do” list instead of a “To Do” list if you’re feeling overwhelmed. I made a sandwich. I took a shower! I walked the dog. I folded clothes. I don’t want to think about how many diapers I changed. But not only do I love lists (and crossing things off them), I love subcategories in my lists. Chunking is a terrific idea. Oh, and “get ready for Madrona” is on my list, too: baby and I will be there for two of your classes! He’ll be 3 months old. We’re both very excited to meet you.

  47. And if you do something not on the list, you add it.
    – put kettle on
    – locate favourite mug
    – make tea
    – drink tea
    – find living room floor
    – vacuum living room
    – spend 10 minutes admiring yarn and decide to leave it on the table for now.

  48. Put “write a new list” at the top of the new list. That way, you get to cross something off right away. I’m totally not kidding, that’s what I’d do. I love lists. 🙂

  49. My middle child was/is a holistic thinker and would freak out over his homework as well. We would talk about the “Homework Monster” and how big he looked. Then we would focus on just his baby toe and see he didn’t look so scary from that point of view. We would take one little task that I knew that he could complete quickly and from that small success, the rest would flow. Same as being able to cross off the smaller tasks that make up an item on your to-do list.
    Small successes help take on the bigger tasks confidently. He and his siblings still use this approach in their work life.
    And I sometimes hear my words coming out of my children’s mouths when I start to freak over some deadline. 🙂

  50. I am a list maker, too. I find myself making sublists (similar to your chunking) but also splitting my list into departments – home, work, other work, etc. and then highlighting the ones that are the most important. The feeling of victory when crossing off something highlighted is immense.

  51. I can only concentrate on 3 “chunks” to do at once. That way I don’t get overwhelmed and when I’m done I come back for more. It also applies to driving directions.

  52. I am a huge list maker myself, and I have found a website that I use all the time to keep myself organized, and all my lists in one place. It’s called ‘workflowy’, and it enables you to make multiple lists out of 1 list.
    And I am loving the turquoise and brown together!

  53. FOREST or TREES~???
    that is the question –most days we need to make our lists and cross items off, BUT that can loose our focus on the whole project —so some days holistically gaze at the whole forest!
    SPECIAL (Lazy) days enjoy the forest and go for a walk in it –look, smell, think, love
    Can you tell this is from a highly organized, retired teacher who has learned to live in the moment? (life really is short)

  54. I couldn’t have made it through anything without “chunking”. I live with a rotating “to-do ” list notebook, even crossing off stuff on a previous page and adding it to the current one. I always thought that a big job looked smaller if I did all the little parts of it first, then the largest part didn’t look nearly as intimidating.

  55. One of my hats at work is a project manager, and I use work breakdowns quite frequently. SUPER handy for figuring out what’s really in that black of of “task”.

  56. I am quoting here from a description of a course called Scientific Secrets for a Powerful Memory.
    Studies have shown that people can hold about seven meaningful, self-coherent items (such as letters or entire sentences) in their short-term memory (known as “chunks”).

  57. I did this with my new year’s resolutions this year! “Run 10 km” was chunked into “Run 1 km in January and add 1 km every month after.” Much less scary.

  58. I hate to be a drag, but that is just who I am. How about adding something to your list? Or add it to your mom’s list? Please get buttons for the Catkin. Yeah. I have never seen a picture of it. You won’t post the darn Catkin till it is done and you don’t consider it done till the buttons are on. Please help me. I have a thing for Catkins.

  59. My exercise instructor tell us to “chunk it out” to get through the worst parts of class. Just do 5 more, ok now 5 more, etc, etc and pretty soon you’ve done the whole painful set. It works!

  60. Any to do list I make starts with “Make To Do List” that way I have something to cross off right away.

  61. I love making lists with sub lists and then getting to cross lots of things off during the day; it’s so very satisfying ( and yes I’ve written things down just to cross them off!). The problems really start when you’re transferring even the little chunks to the next day’s list!

  62. “Chunking” is all the rage in education, and yes, as a teacher we do actually talk about chunking information to digestible bits for kids. I chunk my list every week so instead of laundry I always have, change sheets, wash, fold, iron, put away – that’s 4 things to cross off instead of one. So satisfying.

  63. I really need to remind myself to do this. When looking at anything huge it can definitely be overwhelming and breaking it down will make it much more manageable. Thank you for the reminder! Your work is beautiful, as always.

  64. Wash towels first
    Wash jeans and and pants next
    put jeans and towels in dryer
    turn on dryer
    Wash whites next
    Get jeans and towels out of dryer
    put wites in dryer.
    Put jeans and towels in laundry basket
    put dry whites in laundry basket.
    Leave laundry basket in basement
    remember to put laundry away. Remember to put laundry put away at the top of the list because it has been in the basement for 5 days now and we are all out of…..underware towels and jeans.

  65. Oh yeah, about the only way I can ever even get close to cleaning my apartment is to split it up into a list that takes up an entire page of paper. “Clean living room” is too big and overwhelming, it ends up being a list at least 10 things long. Then I have a shot at completing it.
    My work to-do list started depressing me because it never seemed to change, I’d cross things off as they got finished, add new things, but when I reprinted it I’d delete the crossed off things. Made me feel like I wasn’t getting anything done since it was always the same length! I finally started leaving the crossed off stuff on there so there was some record that I was actually getting things done. That helped a lot!

  66. I think I used those same buttons (or ones very much like them) on a brown baby sweater last fall. The result was quite charming!

  67. I am SO depressed that I didn’t get into any of your classes at Madrona. Maybe next year.
    My lists keep me sane. Both the big picture and discreet chunks.

  68. I don’t know where I learned the chunking thing but I do know it keeps me much saner than the people around me who see the chunking thing as too much trouble. I’ve used it to get through school (I can do anything for 10 wks), climbing my 1st 14’er (see that boulder, we’re going to climb to that boulder and then we can decide if we are going to the next one), labor, and quite a few parenting moments.
    I also find it a great skill to teach the kids especially when they are trying to find something they’ve mislaid. Have them start at the last place or moment they can remember having it and walk through what they did after that. Works almost every time.

  69. In the Project Management world, ‘knit Lou a sweater’ is an epic
    You need stories and then tasks so you can see accomplishment a little at a time
    Spin a little
    Swatch a little
    Blah, blah, blah

  70. Funny how we have to play mind games with ourselves isn’t it? Like… I have to set my alarm clock 15 minutes early in order to get anywhere on time rather than just getting up 15 minutes earlier.

  71. My Dear Yarn Harlot,
    Somehow, this blog post has completely awakened — even intravenously infused with Red Bull — my mean, evil, and completely wicked side.
    Which is making me ask: How have you “chunked” Joe’s Gansey????!!!???
    Enquiring, and expiring, minds want to know.
    Regards,
    Anonymous, too

  72. Chunking sounds like something one of my boys would do that would then require me to clean it up. Nice concept though.
    Personally, I prefer the idea of writing out my to do list after I’ve already done the things, just so I can cross things off, like get out of bed, put clothes on, go to bathroom, go downstairs. Baby steps, you know?

  73. Ah, I needed this reminder. My mum has just passed away on Weds, after an illness that made us grateful for her passing. I need the reminder that the funeral, sorting her affairs, sorting the house and even my grief is just one step, one hour, one day at a time. Thank you Steph.

  74. Yep, another compulsive cross-it-off-the-lister here. When I first had kids I learnt that the stuff I used to just get done in addition to the list-of-stuff-to-do now WAS the list-of-stuff-to-do. Wash laundry, hang laundry, collect laundry, fold laundry, buy ingredients, cook dinner, wash dishes, collect mail, read mail, pay bill. Oh, and “raise child” too. One of those too holistic for the list things!

  75. How timely! I’ve been through a bad time lately with depression ( – dark winter and all that kind of weather gloom brought on a pretty hefty bout of SAD ). I have been pointed in the direction of a web based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy website that uses precisely this sort of “chunking” idea. I can honestly say it is starting to work, and to have it confirmed by someone whose blog I read to cheer myself up is simply wonderful! Thanks Steph, you are a breath of fresh air and a ray of sunshine!

  76. In addition to the chunking, breaking my list up by types of activities: computer, crafting, home, out & about, phone, work helps me keep from feeling overloaded, because I’m just looking at the list that’s relevant to where I am or what I’m focusing on at that moment.

  77. My son once put “add item to to-do list” on his to-do list so he would have something to cross off.

  78. My whole family are list makers. Many of us have been known to do a job that’s not only list and add it to the list, just so we can cross it off.

  79. We teachers use chunking in the classroom to help students who are overwhelmed by large tasks. Right now I’m making a baby blanket in strips. I don’t have to look at the whole project, just one piece at a time.

  80. Thanks for this. It’s brill and I’m going to share the link with people I care for.
    Meanwhile, my best technique for getting ready for a trip or weekend away or event, etc, is to make 3 sublists:
    Do, Take, Buy.

  81. Decided to chunk the e-book project (bodyweight strength training for runners) into a 30 day check list. I’m not panicking anymore.
    Chunking the gardening by beds.
    May just chunk my whole day.

  82. I also am a list maker, and am glad to see from the comments that I’m in good company. I also “chunk” big projects in to their component parts. Even though I use spreadsheets and have tried task programs on my phone and computer, I still prefer my legal pad and pen. The satisfaction of crossing off an item is immense. (Yes, I too have been known to add an item just so I could cross it off 🙂

  83. I raised two sons using no lists. I didn’t even need a grocery list until I hit age 50 and my cells really started dying.
    Yes, I would fret…and I still do…but somehow everything got done.

  84. Brilliant…I will now ‘chunk’ my stuff. Last night I realized my two halves of a sweater are not the SAME SIZE. I will chunk that into the bits and get one of those halves re-done. Versus stuck in ‘flabergastedness’. And I will enjoy it because really, I’d rather be knitting than anything.

  85. Thank you for this reminder. I have had a stack of essays looming over me, and I remembered it this morning when I woke up dreading the task. First, I have to start. Then, I only need to do a few at a time.
    As I have reminded my own students, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Sounds like I need a dose of my own advice!!
    Good luck to you –

  86. At our house it’s called ‘eating an elephant’; you know, from the joke ‘how do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time….’

  87. Thank you. That is exactly what I needed to read today. I too know that I need to break big tasks into smaller ones in order to not be over whelmed. I seem to have forgotten this lately. Thanks for reminding me.

  88. It isn’t “knit a sweater” but
    Knit a sweater back
    Knit a sweater front
    Knit another sweater front
    Knit one sleeve
    Knit another sleeve
    etc.
    That gives you as many things to cross off as you wish. Of course the time spent writing could instead be spent knitting………….

  89. Coming out of Lurksville just to say thanks for keeping up your blog. I’m a US military spouse and our household has been doing the long goodbye for three weeks. I love knitting, I really enjoy your humour, and The Blog has made some parts of these days less of a speeding crazy train. 🙂

  90. Just finished a whole book on the theory of chunking – The Talent Code. Combined with “deep practice” it results in mastery.

  91. Well, going to Madrona got crossed off my list this year. We have a house lamb – a runt about 1/3 the size of the other lambs, & I doubt the hotel would be happy with a little ram running around. Hope you have a wonderful time! The sweater is adorable. 🙂

  92. I laughed out loud when I read that you crossed off drinking coffee. In fact, that’s how my morning is going. Instead of grading papers and doing plans, I can now cross off things like feed the pets, drink coffee, eat oatmeal, stalk patterns on Ravelry for new yarn purchase… There’s a theme of work avoidance that’s about to continue with take 18 mile bike ride with friend. I probably need to rewrite the list to include grading each assignment and plans for each subject if I expect to cross off anything work related today.

  93. This is very true. I constantly have a running to-do list, and I get depressed when I go too long without checking something off of it! Chunking is essential!

  94. Thx for the shout out to us teachers, I feel very validated. I’m currently chunking mounds of paper grading and report card inputting for the 32 students in my 2/3 combo class.

  95. I do this at work with my “Task” list. It has stupid, do-it-everyday-at-the-same-time stuff, but just so I can tick them off and feel like I’m accomplishing something when work seems overwhelming.

  96. I’ve heard the phrase “chunking” before and think it’s pretty apt. Except right now I’m pregnant and have the morning sickness that just won’t stop so the word makes me wince.
    But, baby sweater! Baby sweaters are good! I have something like 3 planned but I’ve only finished a bib and a hat so far.

  97. Ah yes, I’m a list fanatic – gives me a huge sense of satisfaction to cross things off it as I get them done. In these Xmas holidays, a list has steadily got me through various pre-winter projects that needed doing. And I love a good “To Do” list at work – old school, written out on paper so I can cross items off. Nice to know other people rely on them too.

  98. Yes a workable TO DO list is really a STEPS TO TAKE list. semantics really do make a difference. Chunking is a great way to describe this.

  99. This is literally all that project managers do. Now if you learn some jargon about critical path analysis you can charge large corporations $3000 a day. 🙂

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