Difficult projects are, well, difficult. No surprise there. But how we manage a difficult project often determines how successfully we complete it. Research papers, big reports, marathons, DIY projects, writing a book, or starting a business all have the same common denominator – they are difficult. They require determination, planning, sweat equity, and did I mention determination? If you have a big, difficult project, here are 5 tips that will help you complete it on time.
1. “See” your goal regularly. Written goals get accomplished, but only if they are seen regularly. You must have a way to remind yourself of your goal. For some, this means displaying it in your workspace, so you read it every day. For others, this means reading your goals every morning before you start your day because you need to hear your goals read aloud. The point is you need to remind yourself daily of your goals because interruptions happen every day.
2. Build a team around you. You do not have to have employees working for you to build a team. It could be as simple as sharing your vision with your spouse, so he or she can encourage you. A team includes people who can encourage, direct, and advise you as you march toward your goal.
3. Eliminate the negative. You will have lots of people who will tell you that you can’t do whatever it is that you want to do. They will tell you it is unreasonable, too expensive, or too hard. Do not listen to them. Find your encouragement. It could come from a book, a podcast, a blog, a picture, a story, the Bible, or a person.
4. Celebrate break through moments. Celebrating small milestones will encourage you and help you feel like you are making progress toward your goal. Learn to enjoy the small wins so you will achieve the big win. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon, then celebrate with friends and family when you run your first 15-mile training run. It helps condition your mind to remember that you can finish the race when you face 26.2 miles on the big race day.
5. Remove distractions. No matter what your difficult project is you, will face distractions. Distractions rob you of your time and will derail your progress. Assess your environment. Eliminate the unnecessary distractions. No one can remove all distractions, but you can remove the ones that have the most potential to distract you and keep you from your goal. For example, if you want to write you must turn off your email, Twitter, and Facebook so you won’t be tempted to turn your attention off your project.
I would love to hear your thoughts. What have you found helps you finish difficult projects on time and on budget?