You’ve been selected to organize a project at work.
Or perhaps you’ve decided to organize a personal project of your own, such as a birthday party, a vacation scrapbook, or fashion show.
You can see the completed project in your mind’s eye, but you’re not entirely certain as to how to organize the steps in between to actually get to the finished product.
In this post, I offer five simple steps to help you organize a project.
Follow these five steps the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed with your planning.
This sequence will help you put together the project, step-by-step.
Give your project a name.
You’re going to spend many hours at work on your project, so it makes sense to give your project a name.
What’s a good name for your project?
Be as descriptive as possible, so you don’t accidentally confuse your project with a similar one.
If you’re working on a project with others, select a clear and practical name so people will know what you’re talking about, as in “Surprise Birthday Party for Steve” instead of “Operation Cake: Steven.”
Set a due date for your project.
A project without a due date probably won’t be completed. It will just drag on and on for weeks or months, until someone gets tired of it, or forgets to complete it. When does your project need to be completed by? Was there an external deadline given? If not, go ahead and select a specific date (month, day, and year) by which your project needs to be completed.
List out broad categories.
The next step is to create broad project categories. You can think of these as large sections that make up the larger unit of your project. One way to think of these project categories is to think of them like subjects at school.
If we were to say school was a project, then the smaller project categories, or subjects, would be things like biology, history, physical education, english, mathematics, and so on.
From our example above, “Surprise Birthday Party for Steve” might have the subjects or categories of cake, utensils, decorations, music, guests, and so on.
Don’t worry if you don’t come up with everything in one sitting. The important part is that you start to think about all the potential categories involved.
List out tasks.
These are what would be considered the to-dos of your project, or the specific tasks that need to be accomplished for each category. What tasks need to be accomplished for each of your categories? Go ahead and write these tasks down underneath their respective categories.
From our example above, the category of decorations might include: wall decorations, party favors, ceiling decorations, and so on.
Again, don’t worry if you don’t come up with everything in one sitting. You’ll have a chance to revise things in just a minute.
Revise and add due dates.
Now it’s time to review your categories and tasks to make sure everything is complete. Do you have all the necessary categories for your project? Are your tasks listed under the right categories? Do you need to add any more tasks to your project? Feel free to edit, move, and adjust your notes as need be.
When you’re satisfied with everything, add specific due dates for both your categories and tasks. Start by identifying due dates for specific categories, and then work your way down to due dates for individual tasks (this makes perfect sense, as your tasks are what will actually move the project forward).
Review your work once more, and complete any final edits. Congratulations, you’ve successfully organized a project!
How about you? How do you go about organizing a project? Do you like to take your planning step-by-step project, or do you have a brainstorm, and then organize everything later? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!