The 12 Steps I Use To Start A Project

tips to ensuring success from beginning to end

If you’re like me, you most likely procrastinate a new project. Through high school, it is amazing that I graduated. I regularly put off projects until the night before, submitting a sub-par assignment that I am not proud of today. During college, I committed to being the best student possible. In order to do that, I had to change my ways and make a plan to start on the right foot and persevere through until the end. When I started doing the 12 Steps before starting a project, I found the change I needed. This was rewarding to me when I finished my undergrad Magna Cum Laude and my graduate degree with a 4.0 GPA.

The 12 Steps I Use To Start Any Project

Part of the reason your project seems intimidating is most likely internal exaggeration. Different people focus on different parts of a project, but following the tips I’ve used should help get you on the right track. Set your project up for success by using the tips below to overcome the speed bumps we often create ourselves.

Below are some tricks I use to help my projects be successful from the start.

12 Steps To A Better Project

  1. Do my homework

    Before starting anything, it is best to do some research. People rarely invest money into companies without researching the company, leadership, and projected figures, why would you commit the most precious commodity without any research? Remember, no matter how rich or poor you are, everyone has 168 hours each week to make a difference.

    When doing my homework, I look at the amount of resources that will be needed, the final outcome of the project, determine the amount of time that will go into making it worthy of my name. I’ll talk about it more in a minute, but remembering there is a line between good enough and perfection, perfection is impossible to achieve. Do your research!

  2. Envision the end product/goal

    After doing some homework, it is easier to see what the end product should look like. In school, the teacher or professor has most likely provided a syllabus or specific outcome to guide you on the way. If your project is work based, it may be a clear outcome from the boss or perhaps she gave you creative rights to the task. Regardless, you have to know what the end should look like to sketch a plan. Remember, a map is useless if you don’t know where you’re going.

  3. Sketch a basic plan/outline

    Once I know the ins and outs of the project, including the vision for the final product, it is time to sketch out the plan. This is when you draw the road map along the way that gives you turn by turn directions, but also visual cues if needed. The plan should not be taken lightly or skipped as it builds a firm foundation for the entire project.

  4. Decide if the project is worthy of my time/commitment

    This step may not apply to everyone. Sometimes you simply have to do things you don’t have time for or even care to commit to. When a boss or teacher assigns a project to you, you rarely can negotiate your way out of it. If you do have a choice, it is crucial that you take this into consideration. I have long been guilty of getting in over my head by saying yes to everything instead of committing to the projects I already had going. This can leave you exhausted and dent the projects potential.

  5. Commit to it

    Once I decide that a project is worth the investment or I have been assigned a task, I make the commitment. Making a formal commitment is similar to writing down goals. It really takes the commitment to the next level when you follow through and formalize it.

  6. Get to work

    You could delay and procrastinate all day long making plans about your plans. The project will not get down if you always plan. Eventually, you must get to work.

  7. Track progress

    I love Microsoft Excel, I use it in a lot of what I do to track progress and ensure nothing is missed. Having tangible data that you can see keeps things from being overwhelming. For example, when I think about a years worth of content for a blog, it is more than overwhelming. Thanks to a content tracker I created in Excel, I am able to easily manage an entire year of content.

  8. Get an accountability partner

    I’m a runner. Okay okay, I run sometimes. My work schedule is odd so I don’t have the luxury of having a regular accountability partner for running. Instead, I use an app called Strava that publishes my workouts to my friends so they can hold me accountable. There’s a saying, if it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen.

    Having someone who can make sure you’re progressing through the project can be the extra drive you need. When you’ve worked all day and are going home to work on a project, having someone to hold you accountable can be the difference maker. If you’re like me, you hate disappointing people.

  9. Decide what’s good enough

    I want the perfect product. I’m a struggling perfectionist. As Michael Hyatt and Chalene Johnson have both said numerous times, “if your product is perfect, you waited to long to launch”. Chalene once said that “if you’re not embarrassed of your first edition, you waited too long to launch”. I have to agree with both sentiments.

  10. Celebrate victories

    If you’ve pushed through and were victorious, celebrate for a moment. Just as the runner finishes a race, you must celebrate the completion then get right back to work on the next task. But don’t forget to have fun along the way.

  11. Know when it’s time to call it quits

    Sometimes, you have to quit. It is the difference in wisdom and foolishness. Pride cannot get in your way, check the ego and move on. Quitting isn’t the first option just because something is difficult. If the wall is so high that you have to lose everything to win, you might not actually be winning.

  12. Review and evaluate the project

    When you’re done, look back for lessons to learn from. Just completing the task is a learning opportunity. I remember my first half marathon. I did not train properly for it and felt it around mile 7 of the race. My pace was way off, I came out way to fast, and I didn’t fuel properly. After the race was over, I immediately used the drive home to quickly celebrate the win and then make mental notes on how to improve next time. It worked, since then I’ve knocked 9 minutes off of my half distance and completed 6 more halfs.

I’ve found this to work well in any “project”. I’ve used these steps in college courses, at work, and even for completing a marathon.

 

Challenge

Question: How can you use the 12 Steps to accomplish more from your projects? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

 

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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