“Eat the elephant”: What it means and how it can help you study from homePosted on 22/02/2017 by Jess O'Connor
Does the thought of completing a qualification make you feel anxious and overwhelmed?
Is your to-do list spiralling out of control?
Do you feel like there’s not enough time in the day?
Here’s a weird idea that might help you stay calm: “Eat the elephant one bite at a time.”
This strange saying has been around for years. It means to “approach a task one step at a time”. You can’t eat an elephant all at once. That would be impossible! Instead, you have to break it down into tiny portions.
(Note: if the thought of eating an elephant weirds you out, replace the word elephant with something equally giant – like a life-sized chocolate castle or the Great Wall of China made out of cake).
The same concept applies to studying travel or tourism. You can’t complete your qualification in one quick step – you have to break the task down into bite-sized chunks.
As soon as you realise that you don’t need to do everything at once, you will begin to feel better.
Every morning, instead of looking at the whole “elephant”, just focus on the one or two bites you need to finish before you go to sleep.
If you do this every day, you will look back and be surprised at just how much you’ve “eaten”!
While we’re enjoying this metaphor, here are a few more tips to keep in mind:
- Try not to “binge eat” – eating one bite a day is much better for your sanity than trying to cram 20 bites into one evening. In other words, don’t leave everything to the last minute!
- Make a plan. Figure out at the beginning exactly how long it will take you to “eat the elephant” based on your projected pace. For example, will you need to study part-time or full-time to complete your qualification?
- Start every day fresh. Don’t worry about yesterday’s failures or tomorrow’s anxieties; just focus on ticking off your tasks for that day.
- Track your progress. At the end of each week, look back to see how far you’ve come. Reward your efforts with a small treat, such as a movie night or some chocolate.
- Ask for help if you’re struggling. Your tutors might have some ideas on how you can get back on track.
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