You've got a project ahead of you, but don't know where to start? There's a blank piece of paper in front of you with 10 'to-do' lists swirling in your mind. So, just where do you start to unravel the tangled wool of ideas you are bursting with?
Here's a list of the top 10 steps you can take to quickly and easily get your next project started off on the right foot from the beginning. By following these 10 steps, you'll be able to capture all of those thoughts and be sure to find success with your project.
GET IT ALL OUT ON PAPER If you are staring at a blank page or worse still, have a thousand lists piling up and growing by the minute don't fret. Just keep writing. Jot down every little thing that you can think of that has to be done. By getting it all out of your head you will be making room for you to think more clearly about what needs to be done when. So go ahead...start writing.
WRITE IT ON PAPER Now this may seem rather odd after all, who writes anymore? Yet that simple act of physically writing will help your brain begin to make a little more sense of it all AND it will help kick start your brain into thinking about ALL the things that need to be done. Try it....it works.
Now you have it all written down, the next thing that people tend to do is - panic. In fact, this is the point where most people go into overwhelm and often abandon their ideas altogether. There is so much to be done! Tip number two is DO NOT PANIC at the enormity of what lies ahead. It's all achievable - as long as you have a plan. So once you have written, that is hand written all you can think of that needs to be done, get up and walk away.
Tip number four is GET UP AND WALK AWAY. No seriously. If you can't think of anything else, just close the book and walk away. This simple act will help you avoid going into panic mode and also give your brain the opportunity to sift through what you have just written down. Give yourself a day or two - you'll know when it's time to come back, just trust yourself.
It might seem that you've not done much to this point, but you have done amazingly well. Planning is an art form as much as it is about writing lists and doing things. Now you can begin to sort through your lists. The best place to start is at the end. That's right BEGIN WITH THE END. Write down when all this has to be done. You might have a date that can't be moved, or a flexible date that depends on the tasks you have to do or other factors. Whether it's fixed or flexible, this is your starting point.
Now you can begin to GROUP YOUR TASKS into months, weeks or days, depending on how long you have from now until the due date. This is the quickest and easiest way to plan quickly. You should end up with a series of tasks to be done each month, each week or each day.
NAIL THE BUDGET Once you know what you've go to do, make sure you have enough money to make it happen. This is a common planning mistake: as the saying goes, make sure you don't have champagne tastes for your juice box plan. It's an understatement to say that this the most critical part of being able to get your project off the ground. If you go into it knowing you're going to spend twice as much money as you have, the only thing you're planning for, is to fail. Most people also panic at this stage when they realise how much they have to do and how little they have to do make it happen.
Again, don't panic - it's simply time to TAKE STOCK OF THE SITUATION. What this means in practice is to begin culling your to do list. If you don't have the time to do everything, you will have to change your plans. This will mean cutting back on some tasks or ideas or even changing where you might need to get help or ask for more money. It's time to be brutal with your planning now and make it all manageable.
HELPING HANDS. Finding people or more money can be difficult, so it's a good idea to park your plans for a while until you can co-opt people to help, or find a way to raise more money. It's really worthwhile to take the time to do this. Again, this is often the point that people give up their ideas and find it all too hard. The dream of the perfect project seems to be impossible without help or more money. Take the time to make some important decisions about whether you will wait until you have the resources you need to make the project happen or if you have to cut and trim your ideas and task lists in order to meet a deadline that can't be moved, or if you can co-opt people to help you make your dream come true.
TAKE STOCK. Before you launch in to 'go' mode, take stock again. Review your tasks, are they all still achievable? Do you need to change or modify anything? Is everyone on board to and fully committed to helping? Is the money really enough to get it all done? If it's 'all good for go' then you can take those first steps and get going on your list of tasks to be done straight away and work your way to success. Good luck!