A deadline is not a wall for failure. It is the door to success. www.jaywren.com
Some projects require months, even years to complete. How do successful people meet deadlines and achieve success with long-term projects? This article lists some ideas that you might find helpful.
Daily Reminders, Project Managers, Lists, Clutter, Priorities, One Step
Anyone can suffer from procrastination. Larger or less appealing projects can discourage people from even starting to work on them until the deadline. Taxes and term papers and are two examples.
Many well-run organizations have people who specialize in project management. Many of these people have years of experience. Additionally, project managers often have certifications that qualify them to manage large projects. But as a professional, you must become the project manager of performance, your career, and your life.
Whether working on short-term or long-term projects, everything starts with a list. The list may simply be the things on my schedule for today. Another list may be for resource material. I put the items on that lists on my calendar. I schedule the items as recurring prompts to remind me of research I have completed. Moreover, the prompt saves me the time of doing the same research again.
When working on long-term projects, I find it helpful to create a list of steps. The steps are the actions I will take by specified deadlines.
In some cases, I have tasks running simultaneously. Even though the tasks are simultaneous, I can’t do any two things at the same time. Therefore, I break the task into units that I can complete during a single day.
List these things on your daily calendar as specific measured steps in terms of details and time you will spend on a task and the time that you will start it.
Simple, identical, daily reminders for personal things do not need to be on your schedule: for example, 6:00 AM Ride Bike, 12:00 PM Lunch. For me, these reminders do little good. For motivational purposes, I have tried scheduling activities like exercise or adding a list of nutritional food options on my calendar. But I soon just ignore them. The best motivation for these types of things is to organize my environment for making good choices. I to put my exercise bike in front of my TV where I start my day. As for healthy food choices, I try never go to the grocery store when I am hungry. Second, I don’t bring comfort foods home.
Due date and importance: as I list things, I separate them based on due date and importance. For example, I have an important contract to finish writing. I need a day to write it. The deadline is the end of the day. Therefore, I clear my schedule and finish writing the contract. On the other hand, the contract may not due for five days. I break the process of writing the contract into daily five sessions.
Pressing but not important issues: During the day, I have things that arise that appear or feel urgent. They are pressing issues related to the needs of others. An associate from another department might call. I feel pressure to take the call. However, relative to the things on your schedule, the call is not urgent. I schedule to call the person back when I have finished my more important work for the day.
One method I use to complete a large project is to agree with myself to do just one thing. For example, I once took on the task of clearing large shrubs from my yard. The task was far too large to do in one day or even a week. I struck a deal with myself to remove one limb each day. On days when I couldn’t motivate myself to do more than remove one limb, I simply removed one limb. I resisted looking at how much work I still had to do. I just focused on my agreement with myself to remove one limb. Through that method, I stayed on the project of clearing the shrubs and finished a huge project for one person.
Likewise, when I am writing, I strike that same agreement. I write one sentence. Then, the next sentence may not come to me. But I stick to my agreement with myself to write that first sentence. Without that first sentence, the second sentence would never come. When I can’t move ahead beyond that sentence, I don’t dwell on how much more I must write. I simply continue the agreement to write one sentence each day.