3 Things to Know Before Starting a Project

posted in: Time Management 0

3 Things to Know Before Starting a ProjectAre you getting ready to start a brand-new project at home or the office?

Do you want to complete your work as quickly and efficiently as possible?

While starting a project can be a thrilling endeavor, the day-to-day reality of completing said project is less than exciting.

You need to spend a chunk of time preparing, reviewing, and working on your project.

Even when things are going smoothly, sometimes you will hit bumps in the road.

That’s why it’s important to be aware of exactly what it is you are getting yourself into when you start a new project.

In this post, I offer three quick tips to help you keep your project on the straight and narrow.

Add action steps to your thoughts.

You start a project thinking, “The due date for this assignment is in two months’ time. I have plenty of time to get things done.”

The only trouble is, if you continue to think this way over the course of your project, you’re in for a rude awakening. The due date will arrive before you know it!

It’s best to practice a mindful approach towards your work. You not only need to be aware of what you are saying, but you need to make sure your thoughts don’t get in the way of you actually completing your project.

Instead of just saying, “I have two months’ time to complete my project,” and leaving things at that, you should revise your statement to include actionable steps. This ensures you are actually thinking of how much time you have left to do your work, and how you will work towards finishing the project.

For example, you could say, “I have two months to complete the project and here are three tasks that I’m going to complete today towards the project.”

Factor in time for interactions and delays.

It’s not uncommon to only think of yourself when working on a project. Chances are, however, that you will have to prepare physical or digital items and interact with others as you do your work. All of this takes…you guessed it…time.

Working with others and materials is inevitable. You may need to order equipment or supplies, speak with a colleague or expert, conduct market research, prepare a space or material, or any other host of steps.

What’s more, very rarely will any of these interactions go off with out a hitch. You may have to deal with weather or shipping delays, miscommunication, incorrect orders or reservations, or other types of problems. And of course, when things go wrong, it takes even longer to correct things.

That’s why it’s important to not only factor in time for interactions with other people, but to factor in potential delays during your project.

When in doubt, take action.

This is probably one of those few times in life when you should leap before you look. If you are at odds over when you should start a component of your project, then you should simply start. The more time you wait to do something, the more time you will waste.

Feeling overwhelmed? Ease into things by starting and completing a small, innocuous task. You could make a phone call, place an order, locate materials, talk to someone in charge, and so on. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. Just do something that is related to your project. Action begets action. Go ahead and take that first step.

How about you? What problems do you regularly face when it comes to starting a project? How do you ensure you are making the most of your precious time? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

A version of this post appeared on the blog in March 2013. 

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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