Principle #8 in Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” is “Chunk It Down.” I love the quote at the beginning of this chapter.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.
– Mark Twain
About This Post
I’ve been learning from Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) since 2008. I credit much of my success (including authoring or co-authoring more than 40 books) to applying principles in my life that he teaches. I’m currently going through his book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” covering one principle a week.
Principle #8 is “Chunk It Down”
I’m often asked I how was able to write so many books or earn so many certifications. The answer I commonly give is “one at a time.” When it comes to writing books, it’s one page at a time.
Don’t repeat this if there’s an elephant in the room, but the old saying goes like this: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
This is the same for any large complex project. Break it down into manageable chunks and then start on those chunks.
Many times, you’ll find that an expert has already chunked it down for you. All you have to do is follow the steps provided by the expert. As a simple example, if you want to bake a cake for the first time, you can follow a recipe. You don’t have to create a recipe from scratch.
Sometimes, you have to break it down yourself. For example, Amazon’s dream of using drones to deliver packages has never been done before. Amazon engineers have to figure out all the steps on their own. Using a mind-mapping exercise such as the one in the The Success Principles book is useful to identify all the tasks. You can then group and prioritize them.
Whether you follow the advice of an expert or identify all the tasks and priorities yourself, a key step is to start.
Chunk It Down for the Security+ Exam
The CompTIA Security+ exam is a difficult exam to pass. If you’re considering pursuing it, you might choose to break it down into the following smaller tasks.
- Learn about the exam. This set of pages provides detailed information about the exam including the number of questions, duration of the exam, prerequisites, types of questions you’ll encounter and more. It also includes a listing of the objectives.
- Purchase a study guide for the exam. I hear from people almost every day telling me they’ve passed the exam using the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide.
- Read and study the study guide.
This page has a 30-day study plan you can use if desired.
- Use supplementary materials.
For example, this page lists multiple free blog posts you can use to supplement your studies. It includes several posts on key test taking strategies for the exam.
This site has online multiple-choice questions, performance-based questions, flashcards, and audio files that can supplement your studies.
Chunk It Down Summary
Whatever you’re seeking to do, don’t let the size of it overwhelm you. Any project can be broken down into smaller tasks.
If you’re blazing a trail that no one else has blazed before, use a tool such as a mind mapping exercise. If other people have done this before you, look for their guidance. If they have already chunked it down into smaller tasks, use their plan. You don’t need to recreate the wheel.
Either way though, as with anything else, a key step is to start.