We all have these amazingly great ideas, things we know will make a huge impact for our clients or our families or ourselves. But sometimes it is really hard to get that big thing done.
We’re busy, we aren’t exactly sure the best course of action, and, frankly, sometimes we’re a little scared.
I have developed 6 sure-fire steps to get anything done. Follow these steps and you’ll be able to cross that project right off your list.
1. Set A Date:
There is a reason people sign up to run a marathon (it can’t possibly be because they like to run, can it?) People sign up for a race to commit to a date and more so commit to putting in the work it will take to get them ready by that date. Saying “I’d love to run a marathon someday” doesn’t get you out of your warm bed on a cold morning to go run 10+ miles, but knowing that race date is looming does.
By the same philosophy, saying “I’d love to create an e-book about watercoloring” doesn’t usually result in said book. But say “I’ll launch this book by July 1st,” and you’ll get to work!
2. Make Decisions:
Most projects come with a million and one decisions. Should I paint the room blue or teal? Should I run a Facebook ad or guest post more? Would my audience like a video series or a PDF download?
Most of the decisions we have to make are just that, decisions. Usually, whatever choices we are wavering between are actually pretty equal and both perfect. (If one really outweighed the other, the choice would be easier, right?)
So often the key to moving forward and getting something done is just making that decision and moving forward. Also, everything we do (especially in business) is a big experiment. If you tried a Facebook ad and didn’t get the results you had hoped for, next time you’ll try guest posting more.
3. Reverse Engineer Your To Dos:
The biggest piece of project overwhelm is not being clear on exactly what needs to be done. Projects seem overwhelming before we start, because we aren’t really sure what it will take to complete them. Once we list out all the to dos, must dos, decisions and steps, we are much more clear on what needs to get done and how long it will take to complete this project. Plus instead of one big project, we have lots of little steps that seem manageable. You can’t check “Launch new program” off your list in one day, but you can cross off “Write sales page.”
I often joke that the first step of getting out of overwhelm is to get more overwhelmed, but honestly even though you might create a huge to-do list, you’ll know realistically what your project entails.
4. Be Realistic About Your Schedule:
Speaking of being realistic, it is not enough to know what needs to get done. You also have to know what you are already doing. If you goal is to produce that e-book on watercoloring in the next 3 weeks and create a to-do list with 20 tasks (and estimate each task will take 30 minutes), you’ll need 10 hours to devote to your project. That doesn’t sound so bad, until you look at your schedule and realize you have a completely full client load, a school field trip to chaperone, and house guests this weekend. You may not have those 10 hours free to devote to your project, and you might want to adjust your goal date.
The flip side is sometimes we put off a project because we think it will take us so much time that we can’t possibly do it. I just worked with a client who was writing a new online course. She was frustrated that it had been months and the course was not getting done because she was so busy with her clients. Once we broke down her project into specific 1-hour chunks and then looked at her schedule and carved out some clear-cut times to work on her course, she was actually able to complete all the writing in just 2 weeks. In fact, by the time we had our next call, she announced “I’m done!”
5. Put in Focused Time:
It is amazing (but not really surprising) what we can get done if we really focus. Our world is filled with so many things competing for our attention—that new ping from a text message, a child who needs a snack, or the Facebook message from a client who has “just a quick question”—it’s no wonder we have a hard time getting something done.
One of my absolute favorite tools is a timer. I love this online timer (in fact I am using it right now to help me write this blog post!). I set the 25-minute timer, shut down all other distractions, and race against the clock to complete what ever step of my project I am working on. I almost always complete the task in 25-minutes, but if I don’t, I get a 5 minute break (ahem … to check celebrity gossip), and then the timer starts again for another 25 minutes.
6. Get Support:
Being in business for yourself doesn’t have to mean by yourself. And completing a project is so much easier when you have support. Support could be paid outsourcing help, such as someone to set up the tech side of your project, or it could be a fellow business friend who is also in get-it-done mode cheering you on (and vice versa). It can even be a post in a Facebook group saying “Hey, I’m about to start 25 minutes of focused time. Who wants to join me?” (I did that for this blog post too!) Knowing someone else out in the world is working distraction free at the same time as you is great motivation!
I use these steps all the time in just about every single thing I launch.
What are you launching next? What is your next big idea to go into the world? I’d love to hear about it! Tell me in the comments.