A project is really anything that takes more than one step or more than 30 minutes to complete. For example, writing a newsletter like this one is a project. I need a topic, an opening letter, graphics, and the various other parts. It needs to be written, reviewed, and then scheduled into email software and my blog.
This past summer, I was the accountability coach for two people writing books. Here are the steps that they used to be successful.
Schedule Regular Time
Scheduling regular time to work on your project (book, getting ready for year end, finding an assistant, whatever your project) is the first big step. I suggest scheduling this time when your energy is high. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you get your best work done after lunch? Know this about yourself and schedule your important project work accordingly. Also, add a little buffer time to your calendar. If you think something will only take an hour, book 90 minutes to allow yourself to get into the flow and to allow the time should creativity really strike.
Create the Setting
Clear your space before embarking on a large project. Eliminate the clutter. Then put something there that makes you smile, such as a small bouquet of flowers or a picture of someone special or a souvenir from a trip. If you have a chair with a red seat, use that. That is a little Feng Shui to light a fire under your bum.
Make sure you have all the supplies you need handy: computer, paper, notebook, pens, pencils, Post-It Notes… whatever you need to get things done. If you plan on printing, make sure your printer is loaded with paper and you have back-up ink cartridges.
Prepare Meals and Snacks
Have your meals and snacks prepared in advance. When you have had a decent breakfast and your snacks are prepared, you can focus on your work and not waste time retrieving your treats when you are feeling a little peckish (also known as looking for a distraction). I also like to have my tea or lemon water ready.
This is the time to turn off the ringer on your telephone, turn off email notifications, and shut down social media. It will still be there when you are done. Also, take care of your biological needs (ie: go to the bathroom) first.
Set An Intention
Know what you want to accomplish during your scheduled time. This provides you with a couple of clues:
1) Did you allocate enough time for your goal? If not, adjust accordingly for future blocks for this project.
2) It tells you when you can stop. You can stop when you finish what you intended to accomplish.
The hardest part about working on a project is getting started and not getting discouraged. Remember to reward yourself after you are done, whatever a reward is for you: coffee with a friend, time to watch that TV show you’ve been binge-watching on Netflix, or extra time on Facebook. Whatever is a reward for you.