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"Melting Snow"

by Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"™

(c) 2001, A Few Good People, Inc.

I’m ready for Spring.  I’ve had enough snow for this year; I figure that we got almost 7 feet at our house, and that’s a heckava lot of work and worry when you have two horses to dig out.  I managed to keep their corrals clear with the snow blower, but at one point during the winter the snow was waist-high in their turn out area and they had no room to move around.  So we hired a skip-loader to come in and plow it out; after that they had room to walk (surrounded by 10-foot walls of snow)!

I find it fascinating to watch as the snow melts because you can see how Mr. Sun has to work so much harder to melt some parts of the snowpack than others.  There are several variables (air temperature, cloud cover, shade, snow depth, and snow density) and I have no control over the process.

Or do I? 

As it turns out, I do.  There are certain areas on our property that get dangerously muddy and slippery because the melting snow is uphill from a traffic area.  How can I hurry the process so it will dry out sooner?  Here’s how:  I can move the snow so that the runoff will flow away from the critical area.  By doing so, I am helping the sun do its job because a), I can move it to a sunnier area and b), when I move it I break one large, dense pile of snow into smaller pieces.  The sunnier area means that the sun can work on it directly (melting the snow with radiant heat) rather than indirectly (through heating the air which, in turn will melt the snow).  Breaking the large pile into smaller pieces allows the sun to reach more surface area of the snow, attacking each piece separately instead of having to attack one large piece all at once. 

One particular pile was taking FOREVER to melt.  I shoveled and threw it high in the air, so when it hit the driveway pavement it would smash and spread all over, creating a zillion little pieces to melt instead of one very large pile.  An hour after I finished it had melted and evaporated; there was no sign it had ever existed.  My guess is that it would have taken a week for it to melt without my “help”.

And herein lies the lesson:  to complete a large project, it helps to break it into smaller pieces. Sometimes I get overwhelmed when I have a large project to complete.  Overwhelm leads to anxiety, which leads to paralysis, which leads to avoidance, which makes me more overwhelmed!  It’s a vicious circle.  BUT… if I break the big project into smaller ‘bite-size’ chunks, I avoid the entire mental roller coaster and stuff gets done.

This is a lesson in delegation as well.  If you are going to give a large project to someone else, help them avoid being overwhelmed by either assigning it in smaller pieces, or by encouraging them to do it.

Do you have any large projects to ‘melt’?  Break it into pieces and it will melt and evaporate in record time.

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