Now, it wouldn’t be too unusual to dedicate an entire article to salami and Swiss cheese because of the industry that we work in, but this charcuterie talk may not be what you’re expecting. I’ll pose this question first; have you ever had so many tasks to do and decisions to make at one time that you froze right in your tracks? Or felt so completely overwhelmed that you didn’t know where to start? If you have, you are definitely not alone. Research shows this is a normal response that occurs in your brain under these circumstances. Fortunately, there are some positive ways to approach these situations and help get you back on your productivity track. The ones that I’ve found to work well are the Swiss cheese and salami slice methods.
Taking small ‘bites” or poking “holes” in a large task or project would be considered the “Swiss cheese” method. This proven productivity method helps you get your work done efficiently. According to the article linked below, “these small steps are sure signs of progress, which motivates and encourages you to take one step after the other. This progress also gives you tiny shots of dopamine—a pleasure kicker and the agent that ups your motivation. All these motivational spikes from Swiss cheesing your task help you tackle an overwhelming project in small but impactful ways…You started by taking a snackable piece from your cheese block (the overwhelming project). You poked holes in the cheese chunk by continuously doing small tasks one at a time throughout your work day. You created so many holes in the cheese block that you finished it.” Piece by piece, the project becomes much more manageable and before you know it, it’s complete.
Next, we have the salami slice method. This is not only used as a productivity method, but it is also seen in politics and negotiations. It’s anything you take down, slice by slice, until it’s finished. I’ve cited the analogy again from the article linked below. “You find that your salami roll (overwhelming task) is too thick to be bitten into. Any attempts to get started leave you paralyzed with panic and procrastination. You slice your work into manageable items. Prepare a list of tasks that make up the project, and start working on them, not the project. You complete the slices or the small tasks that make up the project. In other words, you conquer the project slice by slice until it’s done. So, in a nutshell, it revolves around slicing your project into smaller parts and focusing on them one-by-one rather looking at the big picture and losing your nerves.” The salami method assists you in organizing your workload as opposed to attacking it randomly.
Both of these methods have something in common—the power of small wins. Next time you are faced with an overwhelming task, hopefully Swiss Cheese and Salami will pop into your brain and provide you with a plan that makes the project easier to digest.