Time to Plan Your Project!

Apr 26 / Pam Walrod
I’m one of those gals who loves “projects” because it means there’s a plan (or will be one) and tasks that need to be done, usually in some type of order/”method to the madness.” Projects can take a long time or they can be done quickly, especially if you have a system and process in place. 

A project is a series or list of tasks that need to be completed within one category (i.e. a launch, course or new website) within a certain amount of time or to reach a goal. What are some tips for project planning? A plan for your project can be as simple as writing tasks down on a piece of paper or even the back of a receipt. Hee. Hee. So, where do you start?
  • List everything you need to do before getting started.  You can do this in your project management tool, on a sheet of paper, in Google Docs, or even record a video of the steps! This allows you to cross out and group like tasks together (i.e. for one task, there are 4 things that need to get done for that one task to be completed). You can also see where you can perhaps automate or eliminate steps to be more efficient. Then, add details like due dates, task owners, status, or links to relevant files in your project management tool.

  • Create goals for your project and add milestones to guide you along the way and check to see if you're on track (and help you stay motivated because of all you have accomplished so far!).When you are going through the tasks of a project for the first time, it’s important to create an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). There may be tweaks or workarounds that you needed to make and without a step-by-step process, you may never remember what it was and how to do it. Also, as your business grows and scales and you decide to outsource, you can easily delegate the project. It also helps you to know the steps you take so you can work efficiently and more productively.

Some things to think about when you're creating your project list:

What is the scope of your project? What is the purpose? Ask yourself what needs to happen for this to get done and what is your goal and desired outcome? What resources do you need to complete the project? For example, are there “tech” platforms you will be using like Kajabi, ConvertKit, LearnWorlds, Canva, etc. Do you need to factor in time to learn the “how-to into your project?

What does the timeline look like?

This is an important step. Planning as far out as possible is ideal so you avoid feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks that need to get done. There also may be parts of the project where you are waiting on information or you need to order a product to do parts of the project.  Projects don’t always go as planned. There could be a “hiccup” along the way that prevents you taking an alternate route, so to speak. So, adding a cushion is also a good idea.

Do you want/need milestones set up to check if you are on track?

When you break down a project into smaller projects and then tasks, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and helps with your motivation when you have milestones along the way. It also allows you time to obtain the information you need to finish the steps. Are some tasks dependent on other tasks getting completed before it? This is a big one! There are times when you can work on multiple parts of the project at the same time (and batch the tasks together). But, more often than not, if one of the middle steps doesn’t get completed, it’s hard to move to the next step.  An example of this that happened to me recently was that I was ready to run an ad. I planned the content, the graphic, the call to action, set up my business ad account, etc., etc. I got all the way through the sections and was ready to publish and an error message popped up that my website was not verified in the business account settings. Oops! So, everything is ready to go, but the ad can’t run until the website is approved.

Time to Organize Your Project!

When planning a project it can start to feel overwhelming when you write out all the steps. If it’s a large project, you can break it down into categories, smaller projects and tasks. This helps you to feel more confident and organized when executing your plan. You’ll want to recognize if you are adding steps to the project or in actuality, more mini projects into the scope of your goal. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of completing tasks and then the creative side of your brain says “Hey, we could add this and it will be even more valuable.” For example, you decide to add a workbook or guide that wasn’t planned, and there adds another day for the project because you need to design it to look just right and cross all of your T’s and dot all of your I’s.

Then, organize everything so it can be shared. Whether you use a simple list or calendar, or something more visual like a timeline or boards, you’ll want to organize your project so that it can easily be assigned to team members (even if that's you for now). It is vital that the tool/system you use is kept up-to-date and tasks are marked as completed so you know where you are in the process. If you are going to be working on the project with team members or delegating some of the tasks, one way you can do this is to create a Google Drive folder for the project and share the folder. All of the elements pertaining to that project can go in the folder (and subfolders) and you are able to give access to others when you need it.  If using a project management tool is not your jam, a simple way to outline tasks is to create a Google Doc that everyone can see that spells out any information that they need to know about. You can also use a project management tool (i.e. Trello, Asana, ClickUp, Airtable, etc.) and then share the Googe folder and file links within the task.

A big tip is to turn projects that you do over and over into a template. If you create a template checklist for the project, the next time you need to execute the plan, you can just copy the template and off you go! Keep in mind - if you add, remove or edit any tasks, be sure to do it in the "template" so it's saved for the next time. This is where having your processes and systems laid out for your business. Also, having a way to track your progress is needed. You can use a project management tool like Asana, Trello or ClickUp for this. It also makes it easier if you decide to delegate a task(s). You can add a description, tags, comments, sub tasks, etc. You get the idea.

In summary:

  1. Planning allows you to achieve your outcomes more successfully.
  2. A project plan includes all of the steps needed to complete the project. Turning that into a process or template make is more easeful for the next time!
  3. Plan in advance, but not too far in advance. Allow for hiccups along the way that may slow down or halt the project.
  4. Breakdown a large project into mini-projects with tasks. Keep an eye on how much your adding to the original project. How will this effect your deadline?
  5. Use some sort of system (that works for YOU!) to keep track and manage your tasks. 

These project planning tips can help set you up for success so you can meet and exceed your goals! Getting all of your thoughts and ideas down on paper to create more ease and declutter your mind. It creates spaciousness!

Organize your brain dump with these helpful worksheets. Download yours for free today.  Visit my website at www.timewithpam.com to find out how we can work together or to set up a project planning session.
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