Do you have a pile of unfinished projects laying around? Those pesky projects tend to drain your energy as you see them in front of you begging for attention. We can throw them into the closet and ignore them, but some projects just need to be finished because – for whatever reason – they are important. Here is a trick I use to get those unfinished projects done.
My Steps to Complete those Unfinished Projects
- Define finished – One thing that gets to me is that we rarely know what finished looks like. Small DIY projects as well, as multi-million dollar corporate projects, suffer the same issue. How do we know when we are done? What does Done look like?
- Set a deadline – There are times when others put a deadline on us and we find we can get it done. So, why not use the same trick for projects you want to get done. Set a deadline!
- Break down the steps into as little as 15-minute actions – Work backward from your deadline to set steps and a schedule. Break down into specific actions that are measurable. Not things like “research paint color” which is an ongoing activity, but instead “choose a paint color” which is done and measurable.
- Who will do the work? Most entrepreneur types (like me) think they need to do it all. How about you? A better option is “who SHOULD do this task?” Break each task into who does the work. Your action will be defining what DONE looks like and finding the person to do it. For example, when we were moving from our last house, I still had to tile a bathroom. A chore for me. So, I hired someone and in days – with no effort from me – it was done. Money well spent.
- Put it on your calendar – Putting stuff on your calendar to do daily till done – and using those 15 minutes to get them done. Check out Productivity Hack – Tiger Time using Google Calendar
My Recent Example
Recently we needed to get our product to the publisher which required we do some editing of video content. We used the above process to get it done.
- Finished meant product complete on disk, and in the mail.
- The publisher set the deadline for the first week in January. (Sooner than we expected of course.)
- We set up daily actions for what needed to be done, and when to meet the deadline. Wow, we had a lot of work to do!
- Multiple people worked on it to get it done. We worked to our skillset. Without the team effort – we would have never made it.
- We put on our calendar the plan and the daily actions to meet the deadline. Then we worked to get ahead of schedule!
- We shipped before they asked – which is always a win!
But, I have used this approach a number of times to get things done. Here are some times:
- Finishing my Ph.D. Dissertation > 3 months from start to finish.
- Building a new product that our customers demanded > 1 month to market
- Completing content to meet our publishing contract deadline > 2 weeks
- Finishing a basement (good enough) for a weekly event at the house with kids > 2 months
- Building a fence when we moved > 2 days
What about you?
When have you used a similar process to get it done? Anything I am missing?
Links mentioned in this episode:
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