How to follow-through on any task or project
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The number one reason why we don’t get things done - multitasking
Juggling too many things at once while back - multitasking was a skill to put on CV. These days countless research shows - the benefits of single-tasking. If you’re interested in knowing more about single tasking - read here.
Blurry idea oppose to clear vision
It’ll be nice to lose a few pounds. It’ll be nice to learn more about content creating - it could really help me with my job.
It’ll be really nice to start a business on the side.
These are nice to have oppose to clarifying and deciding what you want and how you’re going to get it.
It is easier to get suff done if you’re working towards one thing (one goal/ one project/ one habit) at the time.
The concept I am suggesting is easy. Decide on one goal, get it done, move on to the next one.
Execution will be difficult. If you however stick to it - you’ll create an amazing habit. Extremely EFFECTIVE and you’ll INCREASE your PRODUCTIVITY. Useful habit in your personal life and at work.
What is one goal, if you finished, would have a huge impact on your life/career?
If you cannot select one thing, you’ll be tempted by everything and you’ll accomplish very little or nothing at all.
WHATEVER YOUR ONE THING IS - FOLLOW SMART FRAMEWORK
with a time frame
It gives you room for PROCRASTINATION. Does not push you. Does not fire you up.
Some day, one day is not good enough. It gives you room for confusion, delays or excuses.
It works as distraction and it opens you up to taking on other tasks and activities.
Now I know, you may be thinking I cannot choose one thing. I want to progress in my career. So I’ve got to take on this project and agree to one year long training and on top of all of that I have personal goals. I want to start my business and blog about subjects I am interested in.
I get that. Me too! I am in the same boat.
This is not to say that by choosing one task, you’ve got to forget all the others. Not at all. All I am suggesting is, you get good at prioritising what is the most important right now and what can wait a month or two.
Here’s how to prioritise:
What is the compelling reason for doing …..?
What is the payoff of this activity compared to the time you will invest in it?
Is this event or activity time critical or day specific?
Can this task be delegated? Who could do this at least 80% as well as you?
What is the worst that could happen if this doesn’t get done?
Here’s what you need to do to successfully follow-through on any project or task
1. LIST all goals, projects, habits, tasks you’re considering. All of which you’d like to get done.
2. CONSIDER each one and evaluate the pay off and ask yourself:
a/ If I achieve this what will be the impact (personal, professional, financial, physical…)
b/ How till this benefit me/others?
c/ Who will I become as outcome of this project?
Consider what you’ll gain as the outcome:
⁃ the person you’ll need to become
d/ Consider pros and cons for each one
Review all and decide which one has the best and the biggest impact on your life right now?
3. PICK one
Deciding is difficult task but after considering above questions, it should be clear and easy decision to make.
A/ Now use SMART framework to define it.
Avoid: I really want to get this project done in the next couple of months.
And instead be specific: For next 8 weeks I will invest 5 hours a week to work on this project
C/ Kick the number one excuse before it takes over
Now that you’re clear on your goal/project, the number one excuse will pop up. How am I going to find the time?
Keep in mind, you’ve got 24 hours. It’s up to you how you choose to spend it. Some people learnt to use their time wisely and it can be you too.
Don’t you always find time for what’s important to you?
Open up your calendar. Schedule it. Specifically block out time when you’re going to work towards project/goal.
Research backs this to be true. Heidi Grant Halvorson, professor at Columbia university says: ‘setting specific time can double or triple your chance for success.’ This is knows as promodoro technique.
From now on, look at your calendar as vehicle to make your goals come true. Own it! So money people talk about not having time as if it was something out of their control.
D/ Plan for problems and obstacles.
The reason why you did not follow through or gave up in the past was, something came up. It could have been daily interruptions, sickness, technical problems, family emergencies, you name it.
And it’ll happen this time too.
You’re more likely to follow through if you consider and plan for problems and obstacles. Create list of all possible obstacles, problems, distractions. Make a plan how you’re going to overcome them.
Consider. When problem comes up, how are you going to deal with it?
Plan extra time in your calendar for emergencies. Double the time you think you’ll need. If you believe this task will take an hour, be sure to schedule double amount. Otherwise if you take longer than you planned for, l’ll put you behind on your schedule. We tend to underestimate how long the task will take.
Planning the double time is simple solution which will benefit you by making you feel you’ve overachieved if it takes you less time, and this way you put less pressure on yourself. You’ll have enough time to be thorough and you won’t rush through, we all know rushing through results in undesirable outcome or poor job.
2 ways to decide how much time to schedule for project or task
Start with end in mind. When do you want the project to be finished by? Then work your way back to present time.
Schedule in steps what you need to do to get project done by agreed time frame.
Remember, double the time you think you need. As mentioned earlier - you’ll see tracking your progress. So if you were too optimistic, or too general, you can always change it.
2. ESTIMATING THE TIME
It’s difficult but just use your best judgement. It’s not set in stone. As you’re reviewing your progress, you can always change it. Soon enough, you’ll get the feel for how long each action takes and you can make appropriate adjustments.
Beware of Parkinson’s law which states ‘work expands to fill the time available for it completion’
What that means, if you estimate the task will take a week, it’ll take week to accomplish. Even though, if you pushed the deadline to 2 days, you’d be able to accomplish the task in 2 days.
E/ Free yourself from unnecessary obligations
In recent study conducted in UK, it shows that average Brit makes 15 decisions a day on autopilot. No consideration, without thinking about it, makes decision which later regrets.
We find it easier to say yes to things than no. It comes down to need or want to please people.
Beware of this next time you offered project. Before you agree or reject project, opportunity, offer, say this:
• thank you so much for thinking of me, I will consider it and give you my answer by... (choose the date or time - ideally you want to take a day or two no longer than that)
• thank you for the offer, let me think about it
• or as Bob Burg (business speaker and best-selling author) suggests: 'thank you so much for thinking of me', 'I am so honoured to be asked', 'While it's not something I'd like to do...'
Devote your time to what truly matters to you. Consider reading book, The life-changing magic of not giving a f***, which offers great insights into gaining better perspective around what truly matters in life.
F/ Review your calendar
List out all your current commitments, projects, goals, tasks, appointments, upcoming parties, courses, family and extended family commitments.
Which are still relevant to you?
Which can you delegate?
Which can you postpone?
Which can you opt out from?
Then contact people by explaining your current situation, appreciate that they thought of you, you can begin like this:
My circumstances changed and I will no longer be able to deliver a great job
My circumstances changed and I will no longer be able to attend
Remember, saying no does not mean you’re selfish. It’s not offensive or uncaring as long as you say it with kindness and respect.
G/ Begin before you feel ready
You will never feel 100% ready. If you wait until you do, you’ll never get started.
There’s difference between action and accomplishment.
Don’t get caught up in endless planning, dreaming, preparing and instead make a move. Every small action is a progress.
And the only way to accomplishment is through progress.
Action based learning is more valuable than any theory learning you can observe.
Remember physics, body in motion tends to stay in motion.
Now that you know what you work towards. You scheduled it. All you need is consistent action.
List concrete steps. Follow them as per your scheduled blocks of time. With consistent action, you gain momentum.
Then, let me know in the comments below how you got on.