This principle is so simple that it sounds obvious. However, most of us overlook it in practice and become overwhelmed in the face of challenges.
The algorithm concept from computer science involves breaking down large tasks into action steps. Using algorithms improves your effectiveness by increasing clarity and decreasing error-proneness and waste of time.
The divide and conquer algorithm is one of the most useful computer science concepts that you can use in your daily life. It involves dividing a big problem into smaller problems and then solving those smaller problems one problem at a time. This principle is so simple that it sounds obvious. However, most of us overlook it in practice and become overwhelmed in the face of challenges.
Suppose that you want to optimize your life. That’s a huge challenge. You can divide it into smaller problems and solve one problem at a time. In this case, you can divide your life in different areas and focus on each area separately. You can divide your life into private and professional. You can divide each area further into subareas. For example, you can divide your private life into family, health, and hobbies. You can divide health into diet, exercise, and stress-reduction. The more clear-cut your problems and action steps are, the more effective your solutions will be.
Focus on a Single Problem at a Time
The key point in divide and conquer is that you focus on a single problem at a time. Suppose that you want to optimize your life and you divide your life into several areas. The next step is to pick one of those life areas and focus on it. For example, you might want to focus on your diet for a month until you adopt a healthy diet. Once you adopt a healthy diet, you can work on building a habit of physical exercise for a month. This way of approaching challenges is way more effective than trying to solve all of your challenges at once.
Focusing your time, energy, and attention on a single problem at hand is way more effective than trying to solve all of your problems at once.
Dividing big challenges in your life into smaller challenges and complex tasks into simple action steps will maximize your effectiveness. You can apply the concept of algorithms in general and the divide and conquer algorithm in particular to your challenges and tasks. The key here is to focus on a single challenge and action step at a time.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed by a challenge, divide it into smaller problems and tackle each problem separately.
Which challenge are you facing right now? How can you divide it into smaller parts? Which part do you choose to solve next?
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.