Tips for tackling big projects

Tips for tackling big projects

Sometimes we get overwhelmed by large projects. There are just so many things that need to be done that it can be hard to see the big picture and the small picture at the same time. But never fear! There are some things you can do to make those projects more manageable. Below are some tips to keep in mind when tackling a big project.

Change your attitude

It is all about having the right frame of mind. Dreading something makes it dreadful. The project is going to be hard if you say it will be hard. However, approaching it with confidence will make you much more ready and able to achieve your goal.

This does not mean you need to look forward to doing your income taxes with gusto. Instead, try reminding yourself that you only need to do it once a year. A refund is sometimes on the other end of all of the paperwork (or online work). Plus, you can make productive use of a dreary late winter/spring day.

Define the project

Define the project that needs to be done. What will it take to complete? What form does it need to be in? Brainstorming the specifics will help you visualize what it will take to accomplish the goal.

Answering questions about your task can help you get a better understanding of the work it will take. What will the final product look like? How will you present the material? How long will it take to cover the topic? Answering questions helps in preparing for the job.

Create a deadline

Create a deadline so your project does not drag on for months and months. Without a deadline it can be easy to procrastinate and the result is the large project looming over your head. Realistically decide how long it should take and when you’d like to be finished. Write this deadline down on a calendar or plug it into an organizer on your phone.

It can be easy to forget to build the bookcase you have plans for. After all, all of the materials and tools are in the garage and you don’t run into that visual reminder daily. Out of sight, out of mind. However, by setting a deadline for the bookcase, you can make sure that you are consistently working on the project rather than realizing months later that it is nowhere near complete.

Create a task list

To create an effective task list you can start by cutting your project into chunks. Not everything needs to be completed at once or in sequential order with one task right after the last.

Make sure your chunks are specific and realistic. If you are cleaning and decluttering a house, a task like “clear old food from refrigerator” is much more effective and actionable than “clean the kitchen.” The specificity allows you to visualize what needs to be done rather than just presenting you with yet another large vague idea.

Assess your progress

As your project progresses take time to take a step back and look at what has been accomplished. Nice job! Or maybe not. This is a good time to assess how things are going and whether you are happy with the direction things are heading.

If your project is a blog article and you’ve written a few paragraphs, it is important to take stock and read what you have written to make sure you are on point. Does your writing follow the outline you created? Does it detail the research you are presenting? Pausing to assess the situation could save you time in the end if you have to retrace your steps. It is better to know such a thing before you’ve gone too far.

Reward yourself

Positively reward yourself for finishing. For many people, the benefit of finishing a project on time is escaping the negative consequences of missing the deadline. That is not a constructive way to go about your business. Instead, reward yourself for reaching milestones. Treat yourself to your favorite drink at the coffee shop when you’ve outlined the project. Luxuriate in a hot bubble bath after your first draft is complete. Bottom line, you don’t have to treat yourself like a workhorse in order to be productive.

Ask for help

No matter the size of your project, there will be times when you can’t complete it on your own. Or maybe, the case is that you shouldn’t complete it on your own. Collaboration can help come up with fresh ideas, delegating can reduce stress, and an extra set of eyes can catch errors.
The project may be big, but it is achievable. These tips will help you approach large work projects differently, so you can cultivate more impressive results.

For more career resources from IWU Adult and Grad visit our blog home page.

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