Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback to info@alessandra.com!

You can eat an elephant, but only by taking one bite at a time

A great trick for reaching your goals is knowing how to break large tasks into smaller ones. I use the word chunking to describe this process. For instance, when I landed a contract to write my first book, Non-Manipulative Selling, I had six months to write it. On my "To Do" list every day of those six months was: Write book.

Six months went by, no book. The publisher gave me another three months. For three more months Write book appeared daily on my "To Do" list. Still no book. Finally, the publisher gave me a final three months, or else I'd lose the contract.

Fortunately, Karl Albrecht, author of Service America, gave me the concept of "chunking." He asked me how many pages I had to write. Answer: 180. How many days to write it? Answer: 90. So he told me that every day my "To Do" list should contain this note: Write 2 pages of book. I must write two pages. If I got on a roll, I could write four or five. But the next day, I still had to write a minimum of two. By following his advice, I finished the book in thirty days!

A final technique for managing your goals comes from Dr. John Lee, author, speaker, and time-management expert. He says when a new task pops up, or an old one resurfaces, apply one of the four D's: Drop it, Delegate it, Delay it, or Do it. Consciously choosing one of those strategies every time you face a task will keep things progressing smoothly.

Here's to more personal insight,


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More procrastination pointers!

Sometimes when I look around my desk, it looks like a Post-It Note factory exploded in my office. I have those little yellow buggers everywhere - sometimes I never get around to doing of the things I've written down on them.

If you, like me, are drowning in a sea of memos, reminders, and unanswered email in your In-Box, here's a simple rule of life that may end your procrastination problems forever. It comes from a very valuable book called The Personal Efficiency Program by Kerry Gleeson.

Here is the rule: "Act on an item the first time you read or touch it." Gleeson calls it the Do It Now approach to personal efficiency. In other words, every time something crosses your desk that requires your input or action - whether it is routine paper work, an email, or a phone call you need to make - don't delay in doing it... DO IT NOW! The more you put it off, the more it's likely to be forgotten.

Do yourself a favor right now: Comb through your office and collect every Post-It or memo you have. Spend the next half hour making a list of all the actions you were supposed to take or follow up on.... And DO THEM NOW one by one, until every one is crossed off the list. Spend some time tomorrow doing the same thing with the messages in your In-Box.

I promise: Your workspace will feel less cluttered - and so will your mind.