How To Eat An Whale And The Discipline That Comes With It.

Step 1. Start. Obviously.

Illustration by Zachary Banks (WakingUpOwls.com)

Whales are projects that are inconceivable massive.

Taking on a massive project especially solo isn’t for everyone. There’s a lot of beautiful mountains. But not a lot of mountain climbers. Either writing a book, climbing an actual mountain, going after a career or whatever you have in your sights that you know is going to take some time and thought.

Step 1. Start.

So the obvious first step is to start. Duh.
Depending on what you want to accomplish and the scope of your project, the whale you need to eat may be different sizes. I’ve always found the proper mindset is “It’ll get done when it’s done” if timelimit is unlimited. Vs. “How long does it take to eat a whale? Alright, I’ll do that 5 min faster.” Just a little advice. Real whale eating comes in the next few steps.

Step 2. Sacrificing Distraction.

This is a hard cut for a lot of people. But in order to eat a whale, you have to give up some nights going out and stuff you use to distract yourself from the fact there’s a whale on your table. This is different for different people, for me this looked like only going out one night a month and the removal of certain social media apps and dating apps from my phone.

Step 3. Rock Solid Sleep Schedule.

This is one that is super sneaky important. Having a legit waking up time and bedtime are the cornerstones to the next steps below. Now I have a kinda intense sleep schedule but it’s the one that works the best for me. I wake up at 4 am and go to bed at 8 pm. The times are kinda flexible but it’s always around that range. And yeah, I’ve missed a lot of shows and concerts due to this,

Step 4. Set an “At least” Time.

Meaning, that if this Whale is your day job or something important to you then put in 8-hours a day. Like a normal productive human. For me, my “at least” time is 4 hours with handling a day job now. No matter what it’s at least 4 hours away from phone or distraction straight working. At most its 12 hours.

Step 5. Journal Progress.

Journaling is a great way to keep track of where you’ve been and how fast you're going. This is the best way I’ve found to keep track of how your progress is going. I write a paragraph in the morning of things I want to get done and a paragraph at night to list what was done.

Step 6. Schedule and Time Keeping.

This is big-league insight and planning. The schedule is one thing, keeping track of time is another. I know I’m not alone when I say I get sidetracked really easily. So knowing what you did in the spending of time is important. How much of that hour was I really working? Understanding distractions are okay and getting back on focus is important is the first step in taking control over your time. Since this is a game of eating whales. You want your hour's worth of work to be worth exactly one hour. if not more.

Step 7. Don’t Stop Until The Job Is Done.

This is simple but also the hardest to do. Finishing a whole whale of a project takes some discipline and some time. The other side of this is knowing when it’s done, and I can’t tell you that.

Step 8. You are in a marathon, not a sprint

So don’t beat yourself up or hate yourself unless you have too. I’ve always found it better for my well being to accept something aren’t in my control and time is going to get away from me. The computer may be slow, traffic may be at a standstill, you may have to take extra long to cook a meal. All things that are going to eat at your patience and time. As long as you put in the time and show up everyday progress is being made.

Step 9: Breaks and rewards.

Yeah, it’s okay to reward yourself for the work you’ve done. Breaks are equally important to eat whales. A story that was once told to me was a young lumberjack started his work cutting downs, 1st day he cut down 30 trees. The 2nd day he cut down 28, and the numbers started to drop. By the weekend he was cutting down only 20 trees in a day. He asked an older lumberjack why he’s getting slow, he’s still working just as hard and as fast. The old lumberjack replied, “When’s the last time you sharped your ax?” The young lumberjack replied “Never”
“Take some time and sharpen your ax, you’ll be back to putting up the big numbers again” — the old man said.
And sure enough, taking a break to sharpen his ax helped him get back to his original numbers.
That’s what taking a break does. Sharpen your ax.

Step 10: Big Finish

This is a section that trips a vast majority of people that take on big projects. The two dominant types of personality’s is introvert and extrovert. The other major type of people I know that work on massive projects are perfectionist. Just as important as starting the project its just as important to finish and get some results.

Hope this helps, this isn’t perfect but these are the steps I’ve used to complete a number of different big projects from writings, websites, branding and understanding large form information.

Thank you from reading.

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