By Aimee Johnson
Projects = that vague, looming, hanging over your head, stressful, time consuming thing we all dread, but are faced with in our personal and professional lives on a regular basis.
I have a tendency to allow myself to spiral or think of the next project I need to complete before I even have a chance to finish the current project at hand! This causes unnecessary stress and can negatively affect the quality and desired outcome. I refer to this as “The Raven Effect” as raven’s are attracted to shiny objects and can become easily distracted. Yes, that’s me – a raven. See what happened there? Ok, back on topic.
Here are five things to get you off on the right foot:
- END IN MIND – Start with what you want to accomplish, defining your desired outcome or goal. Many of us have heard of the phrase “it’s about the journey, not the destination.” Well, in this case, it should be about the destination.
A well-established objective will help you and others stay on track, hold each other accountable, and reach your desired outcome on time and efficiently.
- SET MILESTONES – Once you’ve established your “End in Mind,” the next step would be the plan. What needs to happen prior to the completion of the project? Who needs to complete what? What steps need to be prioritized? Are additional resources needed? Setting a sequence or determining what can be completed simultaneously can move the project along and reduce delays. It is also a good idea to establish due dates and/or expected timelines to complete starting with the goal of when you would like or need the project to be completed.
- WRITE IT DOWN – Accountability can be one of the most difficult and uncomfortable components that can make or break your project. A great plan is a great start, but if you are not willing to hold yourself and/or others involved accountable, you may never reach completion. Worse, in my opinion, you might produce a poor product.
By writing down the project and associated plan, you are making it real. This is your contract and commitment to the project. Don’t be afraid of accountability. It shouldn’t be negative. If used properly, accountability can be a very useful tool to develop skillsets, increase productivity, and improve outcomes.
- MEASURE & REEVALUATE – Don’t be afraid to say an idea or plan didn’t work or needs to change – make necessary adjustments for the benefit of the desired outcome. It is better to address this early on, make the change, and move forward with the next steps.
- ATTITUDE – A positive attitude goes a long way when tackling a project. The project should be worth the process so enjoy yourself and have fun! Be realistic and kind to yourself and others working on the project. We all have strength’s and opportunities that should be embraced and cultivated. Don’t stress yourself out if things don’t go as planned or adjustments need to be made. Be flexible and stay positive! This will make it more enjoyable!
If you feel yourself straying from your plan or becoming “The Raven”, refer to these five items to help get and keep you on track!