Have you ever wanted to start a project, achieve something big, but had no idea how to start?
I'm pretty sure we've all been there!
So, today, I wanted to share with exactly how I get myself going, do my best work quickly and efficiently…even when there are a ton of unknowns ahead of me!
I have a 3-4 step process that I go through to start a project. This isn’t something I do for every single small decision in my life (that would be crrrrrazy!), but I do this for all bigger, more important projects.
Apply this system to any big or important goal you've been thinking about lately.
Let Go of the How
Sit down and have a bit of a ‘come to jesus meetin' with yourself.
You need to be honest about all the stuff you want to do…it’s those hidden dreams & goals you have secret plans to do some day that could be holding you back. I’m not saying you have to let go of those wild dreams that your family might roll their eyes at; instead I want you to own them as dreams and forget about the “how” you’ll achieve them.
Action: Take the next 15 minutes to write every single project or activity you want to do that you can think of.
I suggest creating a scratch pad where you can toss ideas as they come to you – sometimes it’s a notebook or a google doc. Doesn’t really matter, just keep something available to keep you popping ideas into it.
After you finish. Sit back. Read the list. Walk away from it for 5 minutes. Then come back for the next step.
Know Your A, B, C's
The next step is simply determining which ones are actually the most important to you. I’ve gotten good at this, so it doesn’t take me long. Use your instinct. That’s all I can tell you.
Action: Narrow in on the words that catch your eye, that you get a sense would totally rock your world to complete. Sometimes I actually squint at the paper to see what words I see first. Yes, I know…weird Anne…. but I’ve done it with roulette in Vegas and it worked, so why not here, right??
Mark all your top projects with A, the next tier down with B, and C with the “I need to do this but the jury’s out whether I actually want to do it.”
Prioritize all the A’s. Take 1 action immediately on the top A category project. Put the rest in the calendar. Schedule them now. Try to focus on getting 1 project as far as you can and doing at least 1 action per day on the project. Give yourself a specific deadline.
Zip and Schedule the B’s. Don’t Schedule Them Separately. Schedule a Date to Revisit the B’s. On that date you will move some of the B’s up to the A list or simply remove them completely if anything has changed and you don’t want/need to do it anymore.
Remove all the C’s. They are wasting space. If I say “I don’t know”…it usually means no, so just get rid of them.
I learned this over time from several amazing people — Lisa Wilder, Marie Forleo, Laura Roeder, Darcy Leslie, Charlie Gilkey, Ed Dale…to name some of the most recent.
Instead of giving yourself a to do list with scattered items to complete throughout the day, give yourself themed blocks to handle related tasks all at once.
Here’s How To Block Time:
* List the hours you want to organize and get some work done: 9 – 12pm let’s say.
* Create 30-60 minute blocks and put a category/project/activity you’ll work on.
Hint: Don’t make email part of this list until the very end unless you have key emails to send to people in the categories you’ve blocked out.
Each and every time I take these steps, I am clearer, more focused and not running around asking/wondering, “What do I do now?”
Leave me a comment below and share what A project you need help with. This is what I do, people! Let me support you and give you some ideas for organizing your time.
Got it all under control? Don't keep it yourself. Share your secret!