If you’re like me, you probably have about a hundred ideas written down in a notebook somewhere that you plan to get to this year. So how do you know where to start, how to start, and what project to start on? There are a few steps I take to ensure that my thoughts are organized before I jump into a new project.
Prioritize : Define the project that is most important to you, or the most urgent. What steps do you need to take before you even begin your project? You’re going to be dedicating more time to this idea, so you’ll have less time in your schedule for your regular work. That means you need to get ahead of the game. I’ll give you an example: I’m working on a big project for The Blog Loft at the moment- but I realized that I needed a couple of weeks to dedicate myself only to this project. So I scheduled my blog posts & social media updates in advance to free up my hands to create.
Create an outline for the big idea : Whether you want to grow your blog’s page views, or launch a new product line, an outline of the big picture will help you really narrow down and hone in on the smaller steps you need to be taking. There are lots of little tasks involved in the everyday process of reaching those goals. You don’t want to wake up every morning and have to figure out what the next step is, or you’ll never finish because halfway in you realize you forgot a major piece of the puzzle.
Break that outline down into the nitty gritty : Once you have your big picture figured out, it’s time to take each point of information, and break it down. Ask yourself what are the steps you will need to take each month, each week, and each day. Once you have this figured out, you can start planning a schedule for your project, and think about your deadline.
Always leave room in your schedule for everyday tasks : Getting behind means getting discouraged. It means that you’ll feel overwhelmed and put your project off, or give up all together. As a one woman show who runs a freelance design business, this blogging community, and a couple of other projects going on in the background, my daily to do list is enormous. In order to actually accomplish the things I want to do, I have to stay organized- and keep on top of my daily to do’s too.
Figure out what your daily schedule should look like : This is actually the last step I take to conquering your time management on a big project. Weird right? But in order to know what you need to do, you need to first define your goals, outline them, start working out the details, and remember your everyday tasks. Only then will you actually know what your daily schedule should look like.
I create my to do lists based on my goals, outlines, and daily tasks that I already have written down. That way, when I’m making my schedule, I know that I’m not forgetting anything and that I will have enough time to dedicate to a new project. I know that I’m heading in the right direction towards the big picture. A lot of times, I’ve tried to create a daily to do list or schedule without first figuring out what the hell I was trying to accomplish. It seems like a no brainer, but as entrepreneurs we can sometimes get so caught up in the big idea that we forget the million little steps that are required.
So our schedules fail us, and as a result- we think we’re failing. Having your thoughts organized and preparing ahead of time before jumping into your big idea can and will help you manage your time better so that you can create a better product!