Time Management Tip: How to Complete a Personal Project

Image of Malibu Beach, Malibu, CA, photography by R. Isip
Finish planning that vacation and you’ll be at the beach in no time!

Are you looking to get started on a personal project such as learning how to play the saxophone, planning your next beach vacation or digitizing your old slides?

Maybe you’ve been working on a project for weeks, even months, but just can’t seem to finish things up…

In this post you’ll find a few tips to help you manage your time and finally finish your project.

Set a time sensitive and feeling-based deadline.

Personal projects can be more difficult to finish because there’s no external pressure; all of your motivation comes directly from you. As such, you need to motivate yourself by setting a well-defined goal that is both time sensitive and feeling-based.

Instead of just saying, “By April 30th 2014, I will finish converting my old slides into digital files,” add a bit of feeling into the goal. What will it feel like to complete your goal? How will you feel if you don’t complete the goal?

For the example above, you might say, “By April 30th 2014, I will finish converting my old slides into digital files because I want to proudly show off my slides in a PowerPoint presentation at my family reunion in June. I also want to finally free up that corner space in my den where the slides are currently stored and feel happy about cleaning up that area!”

Make a calendar commitment to your project.

You may duck out of personal projects or commitments because you may feel they aren’t important enough in the grand scheme of things. Here’s a wake up call: your personal projects are very important!

They are what you want to do with your life and how you want to spend your time. Go ahead, make the commitment to yourself, your dreams and goals. Put your goal on the calendar and schedule in regular times to work on your project, be it a little bit of time each day or each week.

Don’t let your personal project float around in the haze of “what-ifs” or “I-shoulds.” Your dreams are tangible, real and wholly deserving of becoming true.

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Help yourself view time as finite.

Time is a funny thing; we think we have lots of time to finish something only to realize five months have flown by! Consider using a physical tool to help you countdown the day to your deadline.

You could cross of days on a wall calendar, place a number of marbles into a clear jar and remove a marble for each day that goes by into another jar, or even set a digital countdown clock on your computer. Whatever method you choose, make sure you give yourself a physical way to see or track the passage of time.

Start today!

Stop waiting around for the perfect conditions under which to start or finish your project, simply begin.

Take five minutes to review where you are in your project, go online and do some research, review your materials. Whatever you do, just take some small action step towards working on your project. As they say, a year from now you’d wish you started today.

How about you? What current or future project will you get started on today? When is your personal deadline and what is your motivation? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
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.