Making Life Easier, With NLP Chunking
Do you ever feel that you need to do things in more manageable sizes? Do
you sometimes get overwhelmed with the things or the scale of the things
that you want to do with your life? Then read on...
NLP, Chunking, Neuro Linguistic Programming
You know, in psychology there is a rule, especially within the NLP
circles that I work in and the NLP literature that I read, it is quite a
famous rule; 7 plus or minus 2 – this is the notion that the conscious
mind can only keep track of between 5 and 9 discrete pieces of
information at one time. Your unconscious can literally keep track of
billions and billions of things at the same time aparently (clever thing
that it is!), while your conscious mind is more one step at a time and it
has a fairly narrow focus. Whatever the truth of this, it is a useful way
to experience your own thinking.
Here are a couple of things that you can do to test the extent of your
conscious mind: Without writing them down, blurt out now, straight away
- As many brands of cars as you can.
- As many film titles as you can.
- As many pop groups as you can.
I often ask people these questions on our NLP trainings. Many people run
out of steam when they get to ten, usuallly because of the 7+-2 rule.
The bottom line is, when the conscious mind is presented with more than 9
pieces of information, it gets overloaded. So before you send me a very
clever email telling me off for pointing out the limits of the conscious
mind, would you like to know how you can use this to your advantage? Of
course you would.
When you bear the 7+-2 rule in mind, you can start to organise things so
that you work with your conscious mind, playing to its strengths. For
instance, if you have a to-do list.
Many people that I have encountered have a daily to-do list with 20 or
more items on it. This is a recipe for total overwhelm (at which point
they often resort to looking for the easiest or funnest thing on the list
to do.) The following ideas can help you get a handle on your to-do list
really fast, especially if that list has things that are important for
your goals and achievements and sense of well-being.
Firstly, scan through the list, looking for items that can be grouped
together into categories.
For example, here is a load of the stuff on my list for this week:
Write latest ezine article.
Finish writing chapter for new book
Prepare for client therapy sessions.
Finish project on public speaking.
Finish marketing material for new courses.
FInish listening to current educational Audio set.
Read through solicitors material regarding other business project.
Write up script for new audio title.
Send out follow-up letters for last weeks clients.
Prepare for photo shoot for new Bio.
Write up blurb for my new Audio release.
Write new web-page copy.
Review new CD covers
Meet PR people
Do proposal for new book for Publishers.
New course blurb
Meet with prospective business artner for new project.
Have a life. Have fun......
The first thing on the list is „Write ezine‟ – for me, my ezine "Adam Up"
is one of my products, so I write „Product‟ beside it. Next is „Bank
Cheques‟ – that‟s part of our cashflow system, so I write „Systems‟
beside it. Pretty soon, every item on my list is in a category:
Write Adam Up: Products
Bank cheques: Systems
Finish writing chapter for new book: Products
Prepare for client therapy sessions: People
Finish project on public speaking: Personal
Finish marketing material for new courses: Training
Finish listening to current educational Audio set: Personal
Read through solicitors material regarding other business project:
Write up script for new audio Products.
Send out follow-up letters for last weeks clients: Systems.
Prepare for photo shoot for new Bio: Marketing.
Write up blurb for my new Audio release: Marketing.
Write new web-page copy: Marketing.
Review new CD covers: Systems
Meet PR people: People.
Do proposal for new book for Publishers: People.
Read e-book: Personal.
New course blurb: Marketing.
Meet with prospective business artner for new project: People.
Clear inbox: Personal.
Have a life. Have fun: Personal.
This is better! I have now gone from a list of 20 or so items (instant
overwhelm) to a list of 6 categories which is well within even my 7+-2
This is what we refer to as chunking in the NLP field, and is one of the
most effective ways of dealing with any large or complex set of tasks (or
set of anything else). You may say “Great, but I‟ve got 200 things on my
to-do list”. It doesn‟t matter – the same principles apply. If you go
through your to-do list or your goals lists; just get it whittled down
from 200 items to 20 categories, that is better, it is getting it more
manageable – go through the 20 categories and see where they group
together. Group together goals for your own development; being a non-
smoker, growing in confidence, creating wealth, reducing weight etc.
Within NLP, the key is to have no more than 9 categories at each level –
this way your conscious mind can keep track of it.
It is a simple thing that we do often anyway, NLP just heightened my
awareness of it. I now do it in an NLP way.
Secondly, start to manage your to-do list by the high-level categories:
You can use this in all sorts of areas to make things more manageable,
- To-do lists.
- Goals you are working toward.
- The filing system on your computer.
- Your filing cabinet.
- Any project you‟re doing.
One of the things this allows you to do is notice very quickly if
there‟s a specific area where you have not been taking much action lately
– very useful for helping focus on what needs attention.