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Get Any Project Done in 5 Steps

Steps to help you to successfully complete your project.

Image: Carsten Frenzl, Flickr

If I asked you to visualise what project management is you'd probably conjure up images of big corporations with lots of processes and paperwork. However, the principles of good project management can be applied to not just our work but also to our personal lives. So whether you're starting a new business, planning a holiday, or a wedding, the steps below will help you to successfully complete your project.

What is a project?

Project Management Step by Step: How to Plan and Manage a Highly Successful Project

Book / ByRichard Newton

"Essentially, a project is a task with a known end point ... Projects fulfil some clear pre-defined objective, in a planned period of time, and to a planned cost. Once the project is complete something will have changed - for example, you have a new house, a new computer system or a new product."

The steps in your project

Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity

Book / ByDavid Allen

According to David Allen, the Natural Planning Model which we instinctively follow when completing virtually any tasks has these steps:

  1. Defining purpose and principles
  2. Outcome visioning
  3. Brainstorming
  4. Organising
  5. Identifying next actions

Defining purpose and principles

The Essentials of Defining Your Project

Article / ByDummies
The first and often neglected or poorly executed part of a project is defining your purpose or objectives. This is when you ask the question, "what do I want to achieve?" You will also need to think about how you will measure your success. "You need to be crystal clear when stating your project’s objectives. The more specific your project objectives are, the greater your chances are of achieving them."

David Allen also includes principles in this step. Making sure that your objectives are in line with the standards and values that you hold is crucial to the success of your project.

Outcome visioning

How to Achieve Remarkable Results Using the Power of Outcome Visioning

Article / ByHrishikesh Jobanputra

"Outcome visioning is the art of building razor sharp clarity around your purpose and visualizing the end result by associating it with positive experiences." While your were busy with the previous step you may have noticed that you automatically visualised what your completed project would look and feel like. Being able to clearly visualise that end result will motivate you to see it to completion and give you clarity when tackling subsequent steps.

Brainstorming and organising with Mind Maps

Mind Maps: Quicker Notes, Better Memory, and Improved Learning

Book / ByMichael Taylor

"A Mind Map is a diagram you create to organize your thoughts... With the diagram, you start with a central key idea drawn in the center of the paper. Other thoughts related to the key idea are arranged radially around the center with the lines branching out from the key idea."


Website / ByMindMeister

Brainstorm all the areas you need to cover using a Mind Map. They are great way to just get everything out of your head including those seemingly random and unrelated ideas. Using MindMeister you can then organise your thoughts and ideas into a more structured representation of your project. This will also help to identify areas you may have neglected that need further attention.

Identify next actions

How to Actually Get Sh!t Done With a To-Do List

Article / ByShana Lebowitzon

Now it's time to start the actual doing. Using your Mind Map you should be able to identify various areas that need to be tackled. What can you do to get that area of the project moving? Identify two actionable tasks for each area. You don't need an entire project plan or lengthy to-do lists, you just need to know what to do next to get your project moving. Once you've completed your two tasks, identify the next two tasks, repeating until your project is completed.

Seeing your project through to completion

The Science of Productivity

Video / ByAsapScience

Do not count on your willpower to see you through to the end of your project - it is a depletable resource. Use accountability charts and to-do lists to track your progress and finish tasks.

How To Finish What You Start: 10 Important Tips

Article / ByCelestine Chua

Often, especially with long projects, getting to the finish line is the hardest part. Celestine Chua is a blogger who is no stranger to starting many things with much enthusiasm only to find her interest waning. However, she has also had much success with seeing things through to the end. She offers some insight into what has worked for her in completing her projects.

“If you set a high threshold on what you want to do, the completion rate is also higher.”

  1. Only start projects that actually interest you.
  2. Create a rough plan with time estimates.
  3. Set aside time in your calendar to work on your project.
  4. Stop being a perfectionist.
  5. Commit but give yourself the option to exit a project if it’s really not in line with your vision.
  6. Remind yourself of the end goal.
  7. You don’t have to complete your tasks sequentially - do the task that you will enjoy the most.
  8. Track your progress.
  9. Celebrate the progress you make along the way.
  10. Give yourself permission to drop the project if it’s not working out.

    I am the founder of I love reading personal development books and try very hard to implement the stuff that resonates with me. For the most part I am paralysed by fear and indulge in the fine art of proscrastination. So it's small changes for me.

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