One Bite at a Time

When the children were little, we had no trouble getting them to eat any leftover sweets we had. Now as adults, who practice more moderation, that can be a problem. A half dozen left-over cookies might sit in the Tupperware on the counter for a week.

Then Anna discovered the solutionbreak them into bite sized pieces. Before long, the left-over goodies disappear.

I wonder if that isn’t what we need to do for projects we are avoiding.  If it is a visible project, it almost seems to look back at us, but we don’t want to tackle it. It is too much, too big, too hard, or too inconvenient.

What if we did what Anna does with left-over cookies or brownies? What if we cut that project into small, bite-sized pieces? Rather than spending 4 hours on it, what if we spent 15 minutes and then put it away until the next 15 minutes became available? Of course some projects don’t work that way, but many might.

For example, to thoroughly clean our refrigerator, it takes about 3 hours. My life and schedule is full enough that coming up with a 3 hour block of time is difficult, but I can usually produce 30 or even just 15 minutes. If I take 30 minutes a day and put it toward refrigerator cleaning, it will be done in 6 days, and if I give it 15 minutes a day, it is 12 days. That is a minimal investment any particular day with a satisfying cumulative result.

What might it be for you? Correspondence, study, meal planning, organizing, dejunking, ironing, cleaning, reading? What do you think? Any big project you could tackle one bite at a time?

Trusting in Jesus,

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6).

18 thoughts on “One Bite at a Time”

  1. Great Advice!! I have been practicing this technique with my children since they were little (they are teenagers now). It really works to take what seems like a monumental task, and break it down into smaller manageable pieces.

    P.S. I read your blog every day and enjoy the updates on the family, ministry, etc.

    1. That’s even better. Not only practice it yourself, but teach your children to do it. We are glad you enjoy the blog. Thank you for sharing your P.S with us.

  2. I’m working on a sewing a gift for my daughter’s birthday in 30 minute increments. It’s nice to see it come together over several evenings, and I never tire of sewing in that amount of time.

  3. Such wise advice, that I have found to be true in my own life over and over. My husband and I, like a previous comment, are in the midst of teaching teens the same concepts of managing their time wisely. Allowing our teens to have more freedom in choosing how to use their time (as in, how they tackle large tasks, whether they procrastinate or start right away; whether they use a list, or depend on their memory to remember all they have to do; and the consequence of their choices) has been a new and challenging adventure for us as parents, but we know that one day the fruit of teaching them God’s principles of managing time will come.

    As a mom, I appreciate the example that your family has been in showing the fruit of years of training as your children have become adults. Thank you!

  4. Thank you for this post! You have inspired me to devote 15 minutes today to a project I’ve been avoiding. Our hall closet has become a “catch all” for random clutter. It’s to the point that I cringe when I open the door! Devoting just 15 minutes a day will make this insurmountable task seem more manageable. Thanks again!

    1. I think you will feel great to have that project accomplished, and you are right. Fifteen minutes a day makes it manageable rather than overwhelming! Why don’t you let us know when it is done?

  5. Wow on the fridge. We have a sub-zero. It takes 45 minutes tops unless a soda explodes or syrup spills.
    One of the things we do with cookies etc is freeze them. Some now and save some for down the road. Brownies, cookies and any muffin not iced freeze amazingly well.

    1. Maybe I am just slow with my cleaning. I take all the food out, remove all the shelves, drawers, and door bins – washing them at the sink and drying them before returning them to the fridg. I also clean the grate underneath the fridg, plus the gaskets, outside tops and sides of the fridge. I do wipe downs inside on a regular basis, but not the “take-everything-out” cleaning. The front gets cleaned weekly, but not the top and sides (that sides that aren’t covered with Christmas photos). If you freeze your left-over goodies, they are handy to pull out for an easy dessert on the spur of the moment.

  6. Teri, I learned this concept from one of your Corners many years ago. You talked about how many sewing projects you had been able to accomplish in a year’s time, even though you could only give sewing a small slot on your schedule. You even addressed the argument that, once you get all your supplies out, then leave enough time to put them back again, you don’t have any time for the actual projects. I have applied this teaching to various pursuits, and found that you get a lot more done than you would think.

    1. So glad to know that my sewing 1/2 hour example encouraged you to tackle some of your projects one bite at a time. Just to be clear, it wasn’t that I didn’t have any sewing time left after getting things out and putting them away, but just not much time.

      1. Yes, perhaps I should have been more clear. I meant that we sometimes think we don’t have time to do something because the small amount of time we could give to it would be gobbled up by getting out and putting away supplies. Your Corner addressed that issue by listing all of the things you were able to do with the time in between.

  7. One of my favorite tips from you long ago that has helped me maintain my sanity many times over!
    Thanks again and always!!


  8. I absolutely love this idea! Setting a timer for 15 minutes and making some progress is better than doing nothing at all. So many projects are overwhelming, like you said, and the thought of doing it all is paralyzing. I love when you share practical tips like this! Thank you, Teri!

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