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Finding another way

This is a short story that I wrote in a creative meditation session at the start of the new year. It illustrates the challenges I now recog...

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Bite-size and manageable

I'm learning to break things down to bite-size pieces, the way you can cut up an apple, but you wouldn't want to leave it, because it will go brown and be unappetising.

And what about a bunch of grapes? What about an orange?

What kind of task is it?

I really started changing the way I looked at things when I started buying grapes and split them up into little ceramic bowls, and when I then did the same with my pot of yogurt. I found that I could split up the entire amount into 3, and it would be ready for me when I was hungry.

Taking things out of packets, having them in jars, and being able to see so much more easily how much I had left, has helped me to remember what I needed to buy. It made it visual.

I think that's when I really started to realise that big goals are like a large meal. "When eating an elephant" Creighton Abrams tells us, "take one bite at a time". It struck home then that trying to accomplish the whole goal was impossible, and that I had to learn to break it down.

But I had to learn how to break it down first. Mind mapping helped with that, as well as a number of larger projects at work where I started to see that there was a pattern and that sometimes it was easier to line up a number of tasks and then to make a note of what I wanted to do.

It turned it into a process, where I would do one task, repeat it and find that it consolidated my learning better. I was using my memory, I was getting better at doing things, the way you would if you slice up all the different vegetables that go into a meal before starting to cook. You could slice them all whilst you are cutting things up. It’s more efficient that way. 

And I realise it was more efficient to work through the list, note down the bits that needed changing and them come back and fix, correct, amend, investigate.

I saw myself as the engineer, checking the plane, noting down what needs attention, then going way, getting the tools, the right people and coming back to fix that.

It's changed my mindset; realising that's how I learn and that's how I work best.

I've learned to focus my attention in the right way that works for me. And often through repeating the same action whilst I am doing one set of things, I find that I learn and remember better. And the next time I have done a similar project, I have remembered it, whereas before I didn't really learn from one project to another. It's almost as if I had the memory of a goldfish, and no wonder, there was no way to connect the dots and to see the pattern. I was looking too closely. I had to step back and look at the whole picture.

I had to see the puzzle as finished, before I could start on it, and then step away occasionally to see the gaps. 

Abraham Lincoln used to say, "ask me to cut down a tree in 6 hours and I will spend 4 hours sharpening my axe". I see my brain and my mind as the axe, and I am spending the time to measure twice, cut once, and it has improved the way I approach projects.

I feel so much more able to identify the breaks, so I can pause - the way I do when dancing. I can pause, and hit the breaks, to follow the music and find my rhythm.

Dyspraxic Pioneer 

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