What do you do when a big project lands on your already bulging calendar? Recently, I accomplished several overwhelming projects that had me and my calendar drowning in despair.
Here are some strategies I use to stay on track with large projects that might help you too…
Change your attitude: Once a decision has been made to tackle a project; do it willingly. A poor attitude weighs you down and adds toxic stress to your life. Remember, it’s not about what is on your plate that stresses you; it’s about how you feel about what’s on your plate that affects your attitude and health. Begrudging a project only slows you down and damages your health.
Break the big project into smaller tasks: This sounds obvious but it surprises me how many times people don’t actually do this. For me, a smaller task is limited to two hours or less. This allows me to feel the reward of checking things off my list more often. Will putting a 2 hour task on your calendar finish the overwhelming project? No. Not today. But string a few todays together and you will finish!
Set a timer: Here’s why…
- It forces you to determine how much time you will spend on each task.
- It keeps you focused knowing that the clock is ticking. It’s not about working at a frenzied pace where you get less done. It’s about setting aside only a quadrant time to keep you centered. My focus tends to wander when a finish line is not in sight.
- It minimizes interruptions. Setting aside a few hours helps you and others around you know that you’re only separating yourself for a short time.
Go offline: Take your phone, email and social media “off the hook”. Any one of these can become big black holes of distraction. Before you know it, the most productive part of your day is gone. Also, setting a timer to go through email, voice mail, and social media keeps you out of the black hole of wasted time. When the timer goes off, you’re done. Move on to the next task.
Drink lots of water: Whether you’re working indoors or out, studies show that dehydration makes you feel sluggish. This is really true for me.
30 second rule: Projects are created when clutter accumulates. Why lay something down out of place when it takes only a few seconds to put it away, throw it away or file it away? When I’m tempted to just lie something down or otherwise put off doing something, if it takes less than 30 seconds, I do it now.
Putting it all together: Let’s say your closet is bulging at the seams and it’s time to purge. Don’t think of the project as an overwhelming whole. Instead, define one area for today’s task list. Grab some water, a large garbage bag for charity, set a timer and dig in. When you’re done, don’t forget to stand back and allow your accomplishment to sink in (see “Self-Talk That Sabotages… #2 Motivation (part 1)”).
What do you do to accomplish large projects? You can leave a comment below…