by Lisa Woodruff
For the April podcast episodes, I want to share with you 4 Steps to Organizing BIG Projects for productivity or working towards a big goal. Full disclosure, I generally record podcasts 6-8 weeks in advance. I recorded these in February and March, and I used the examples I was planning at the time. Today, the world looks very different, and many of my examples are not things we can do right now. I know many of these kinds of big projects, celebrations, and plans are all up in the air right now. We are all missing out on direct physical connection to keep our communities safe.
I made the decision to air these episodes anyway, because how you plan a big project did not change. How we are living right now has changed dramatically. But, the principles of organizing never change. You can still learn the skill of organizing. It takes learning and skill to develop organization and productivity.
I am sharing my system for completing big projects. I break it down into smaller steps, and I am going to teach you these skills so you can follow along, and maybe even plan a project of your own. I am trying to provide as much encouragement, motivation, perspective, and love as possible during this time of uncertainty. We are in this together!
After you have been doing your Sunday Basket® for 6-8 weeks, you will find you have 2.0 slash pockets with projects that still need your attention. Today on the podcast, I want to share with you how to move beyond your Sunday Basket® to dos and weekly focus to actually completing big projects. I want to show you 4 Steps to Organizing BIG Projects, how I create bigger goals and accomplish bigger projects. I do this by using a consistent system for approaching my big projects and I want to teach you how to apply these same skills.
For this podcast series, I am talking about three different example projects: a large party or celebration, summer planning for kids, and moving to a new home. This system is for a project that requires more than a single weekend to complete. Much of the time, you will collect ideas and papers for your project in a 2.0 slash pocket. When you are committed to taking action and completing the project, you will follow the steps in the podcasts.
Step 4 - Work Your Plan & Get it Done!
I put my slash pockets in the order they need to happen. For example, invitations need to go out before I can order food, so I put the pockets in that order. I also recommend putting “must do” items before “nice to do items.”
Look at your calendar carefully, and schedule time to get these tasks done. As you make your schedule, you may find out that you do not have enough time to do it all. That is normal - deferring or deleting portions of your project helps you to get to the goal without burning up all of your resources (time, money, energy).
I always start by planning for what I need from other people - quotes for work I need done, outside help, information about what the kids want for summer, etc. I have also learned that I can work effectively for 90 minutes, but cannot typically sustain my focus for 4 hours, so I plan accordingly. Allow more margin or buffer to your plan if you are feeling stressed or pressed for time. It’s better to have too much time than too little.
Each evening, make an index card with the schedule for the next day. Do not make a vague to do list, but actually make a schedule of what will be done and when. Then, follow the schedule and do the things you have scheduled. The unexpected will happen so be sure to allow yourself margin, be flexible, and reduce your goal. Work ahead as much as you possibly can (ideally in order of priority), to reduce your stress when unexpected things show up. I hope you enjoy and utilize the 4 Steps to Organizing BIG Projects for Productivity.