Productivity Tip to Combat Large Project Overwhelm

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Productivity Tip to Combat Large Project Overwhelm


Swiss Cheese Productivity Tip

Look At You Project as a Piece of Swiss Cheese

Yesterday we talked about a Productivity Tip called “Don’t Break The Chain.”  

Today we’ll look at another productivity tip.  This tip can help you when you are facing an overwhelming project.

Productivity Tip – Tackle some large, overwhelming projects using the Swiss Cheese method.


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Productivity Tip – the Swiss Cheese Method of Handling Large Overwhelming Projects

Productivity Tip - The Swiss Cheese Method

You Can’t NIbble, Nibble the Project in One Sitting

If you’ve read my material for long you’ve heard me mention one of my favorite Mantra’s for when a task looks HUGE.

“Nibble, Nibble.  I can eat the whole damn elephant if I just: Nibble, Nibble.”

Implied in this saying is that you CAN NOT finish the whole project in one sitting.


This method of tackling a large project takes things one (or two or three) steps further.

BTW this method is particularly useful for people who have a full time JOB and a family and want to start their own online business.  There just never seems to be enough time to sit down and BUILD YOUR BUSINESS.   If you just accept that your are going to have to become a professional nibbler, the process becomes MUCH easier.  🙂

THE METHOD:  The method is really quite simple and goes something like this.

  1. Write Down all the steps that need to be carried out to finish the project.  Concentrate here on large thing.  DO NOT try to list every small detail.
  2. Look at each item on your list and find as many small steps as you can that can be carried out in 5-10 minutes or less.  We will call these micro-steps.
  3. Start to tackle the micro-steps at odd points during your regular day.

In other words – Poke Holes in the Project – Turn it into SWISS CHEESE.

Maybe you tackle one micro-step before you take your morning break and another as soon as you get back from lunch.  Or if you are working at home maybe one in the morning before you leave for work and one right after dinner.  Schedule these times and be relentless in carrying them out.

Start the project as early as you can and don’t try to tackle too many micro-steps in any one day.

Le me give you en example. Say you have a huge project at work.  You know that it you sat down and tackled the project head-on it would take three or four days to concentrated effort.  The problem is that you don’t have three or four days to give the project.   So there it lies, a sleeping dragon that grows and grows until in a panic you tackle the crises that you allowed to happen.  Not only is it a crisis, but you feel frustrated and overwhelmed because you could see it coming and didn’t feel like you could avoid it.

So, lets tackle one of these monsters with the Swiss Cheese method.  Here are some of the steps you might have in your list.

  • Find a copy of last year’s project 
    Porductivity Tip - Swiss Cheese after Some Steps

    Productivity Tip – Swiss Cheese after Some Steps

  • Determine who needs to provide input to get the project done
  • Pull together the questions that person 1 needs to answer to complete their part of the project.
  • Do the same for person 2.
  • Do the same for person 3.
  • Send the questions to the appropriate people
  • Check to see who has responded
  • Collect the responses
  • Check them and send any back out that need more information
  • Contact those who haven’t responded.

By now the project starts to look a little more manageable.

Continue to poke holes in the project.

Nibble at the thing.

Productivity Tip - The Swiss Cheese Method After considerable Nibbling

Productivity Tip – The Swiss Cheese Method After considerable Nibbling

Nibble on it some more.

Now it begins to look like this:




Sit Down to Actually DO The Project

Hmmm – There is virtually nothing left of the dragon that looked so overwhelming when you started.

One big project nibbled down to size.   You can do this thing!


Until next time, you have a Great Day!

Dr Hale



↓ ↓ If this post gave you some ideas – Go ahead & comment below.  ↓ ↓


Hale Pringle

Hale Pringle Ed. D.


Hale Pringle – Hale Yes!

Skype hale.pringle


For Free 1/2 hour coaching call: Work with Hale

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P.S. If you are working to move your business online and it all seems overwhelming, I can help!  Take a look at, or sign up for the free coaching call. You can email me or give me a Skype call. I’ll give you the benefit of my years of experience and many thousands of dollars in training and searching the rabbit hole called Internet Marketing and Network Marketing. I can help you with Lead Generation, the feeling of overwhelm, blogging, and even career change. Add that to the finest mentoring on the Internet (Ann Sieg’s Team and Inner Circle) and you have a Winner!

About Hale Pringle

Dr. Hale is an Internet Entrepreneur and Network
Marketing expert. His greatest pleasure is
helping people and he does just that, drawing
upon the immense resources that he has gathered
over the years in his unquenchable thirst for

Dr. Hale lives in beautiful, sunny Florida with
his wife, two dogs and a cat. His four children
are grown and are scattered around the state.

An eternal optimist you will hear him say
regularly: “Is this a Great Day?” The answer is
always, “Hale Yes!”

If you need help with your online marketing or a
network marketing opportunity Dr. Hale is the go
to man. “Hale Yes!”


  1. Good tips. Seems most everything is more manageable in small pieces–even if the pieces together are gargantuan.
    Cheri recently posted..Today’s SwirlMy Profile

    • Exactly.

      This method struck a chord with me when I originally read it. I’ve had those gargantuan tasks a couple of times and ended up really stressed and I’m not usually someone who gets stressed. I could see how cutting pieces off the whole would whittle it down. Especially since there are often pieces that take a while to happen (like people getting their reports together). When you wait until too late it becomes a nightmare for everyone and that made me feel even more stressed. (I’ll shut up now. 😉
      Thanks again,
      Dr. Hale

  2. Hi Hale,

    This is a good blog to remind me about chunking down and also some good tips on how to do this. I think I would like to so a 30 min call with you and will contact you about this.

    Great blog.

    To your happiness & harmony,

    • Thanks Susan. I sent you a friend request and a FB Personal Message.

      I’d be happy to talk to you.

      BTW Can I suggest that you log on to and enter your email and a photo? Then we could see your smiling face when you comment. 🙂

      Thanks Again,
      Dr. Hale

  3. As someone who is in overwhelm right now as I prepare to market my book thank you for your clear and insightful blog. I was skimming through some of the UBC submissions more as an avoicance tactic than anything but now I am going to head away and do som trageted nibbling 🙂

    • I’m glad that I could help nibble at your overwhelm. 🙂 🙂

      Especially since crushing overwhelm is my “thing.”

      Dr. Hale

  4. Taking action seems to be key here. I love the analogy of doing small nibbles on it. Great post.
    Amy Hagerup recently posted..Help! I Need Weight Loss Products that Work!My Profile

  5. Hale,
    I love the analogy of your Swiss Cheese Method. I find that when I have a big goal to accomplish, I have to nibble at it. In doing so, each step becomes a reinforcement to the next. “I can do it!” is what my mind starts to say instead of “That’s too big, I’ll do something else.”

    Even though I have been an entrepreneur for many years, I don’t have a j.o.b. – there are always new projects for me to take on.

    Sometimes I have to juggle: I have an online and offline business plus investment properties. That means I need to wear many hats during the day. If I looked at each one of them as a giant piece of cheese, I would fail. But as I “nibble” at each one every day, things keep running along.

    Thanks for this image..

    Donna Merrill
    Donna Merrill recently posted..Fear of SuccessMy Profile

    • You are most welcome Donna.

      I particularly like the “it is the same project (same size) but riddled with holes” image. It always makes me realize that big projects are really lots of little projects piled into one label.

      Dr. Hale

  6. Hi Hale,

    I like the way you introduced breaking things down and nibbling a little at a time.

    I was an executive assistant for over 30 years working for the owners of the company so I always had a lot going on at any given time. I can’t really explain it to be honest with you because I’ve always been very organized with everything in my life including my time. My friends call me annoying.

    Once I came online I actually write out what I need to do for the day and I just go for it. I have been overwhelmed many times but it was only because of the learning process and not the task itself.

    I’m fixing to venture into a huge project though this year and might have to use your suggestion so that I don’t kill myself in the process. There are going to be a lot of moving parts to it but I’m going to give myself plenty of time to accomplish it.

    Thank you for your suggestions.

    Adrienne recently posted..New Rules for Facebook In 2013My Profile

    • Thank You Adrienne!.

      When I read about the Swiss Cheese method a few years ago, it really struck a chord. I tend to bring those up and write about them. There were several MONSTER projects over the years that were additional duties and they would really eat at me. If I had known then, maybe, just maybe things would have been less stressful.

      Until Next Time You have a Great Day!
      Dr. Hale

  7. I enjoyed reading this. Thank a lot for doing such a good job. I’ll definitely come again to read more and recommend my acquaintenances about this.

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