Don’t back down from a big projects at work. This could be an important moment in your life. It might be bigger than anything you’ve done before, and that's okay. You have a right to feel both excited and tense.
How should you handle this situation? There are so many possibilities to consider. Where to start? What resources are you going to need? Perhaps you will need a talent pool made up of people who can help you come in at the finish, on-time and on-budget.
There is also the question of how this project will affect you at work. You will probably be seen in a different light. Who knows, you might possibly become the person they come to often for big projects. Maybe there will be more money and recognition to provide you a better life.
You are at a fork-in-the-road. One fork, success, the other fork failure. How will it work out in your case? That is all up to you. How hard are you willing to work? Are you willing to make the tough decisions? No big project runs smoothly. You will need to adapt. This article can help.
You will get 12 tips to help you cope with the situation in terms of motivation, organization, and techniques of collaboration.
There will be pressure, yes. But you can rise to the challenge and succeed. Why not you? Others have. And the feeling of pride and self-esteem you will possess afterwards will make it all worthwhile.
1. Your Why: Remember ‘why’ this project is being done. What will success bring? To whom and for what? There is an old saying, “If the why is big enough, the how is easy.” You will need to remind yourself of your why often. This is how you recharge your batteries.
2. Small Steps: Take the big project and break it down into smaller parts with milestones. Keep breaking the project down to parts so small, you cannot fail on any step. This will take a good bit of time. But time spent here will mean much more time saved as the project unfolds. And it's main purpose is to help when you feel overwhelmed.
As you break the project into smaller projects, decide who will do what. Delegation is important. You can always change the plan and the people, but good preparation here will go a long way.
Create a timeline. When does each smaller project need to be completed so the larger project gets done on time? Put it on a calendar.
If you want to see what small steps can achieve, check out the article “The Daffodil Principle.” Success is not an overnight achievement. The key is to stay on track. Direction determines destination. Keep going in the right direction.
3. Creating the team: If the project is big enough, you will need people to work with you. You obviously can't do it alone. The key words you will need to consider are skills and talents. Pick team members based on what they bring to the table. You will need people who compliment what you can do as well as people who are good at what you are not good at.
Everyone needs to know what is clearly expected of them. Don't leave them wondering.
4. Celebration: As you hit each milestone celebrate and give praise to those who have helped make it happen. People need to feel good as the produce positive results. Including you. Elon Musk, of Tesla and SpaceX fame, is good at giving credit to his teams and to congratulate them often for good work.
This process will also help to produce momentum. The hardest part of any endeavor is at the beginning because it takes so much effort to get the project going. Think of an airplane. It takes a lot of energy to get off the ground. Once it has done that, it can rise to its cruising speed. Notice that word - cruising. Now, it takes less energy. Momentum is on your side.
So once you’ve got things going in the right direction, celebrate the occasion. (Smart managers then work to keep the momentum going celebrating all the way to the finish). Celebrating each milestone is like a sports team celebrating each win. Take the hint and make this happen within your project. It will give you and your team a reason to persevere.
5. Dealing With Distractions: There will be distractions to take you off course towards your success. There always is. Our culture is full of it.
The big project is a major endeavor that takes time. Don’t let minor ‘shiny objects’ push you in a bad direction, slowing progress. Be aware and refocus when necessary.
Controlling your focus is a choice you have control over. Everyday you will be hit by item after item asking for your time and attention. The great majority of distractions are not as important as this big project. Remain conscious of that fact. Keep turning your attention back to the project. You might think of it as examining the project through a magnifying glass. Focus is crucial.
6. Letting Go Of Other Projects: You have to be aware from the very beginning, when and which other projects you will have to stop. Yes stop. Time is precious. You can't do everything you would like.
In the least delegate as much as possible to others. There is only 24 hours a day. Don’t kid yourself here.
For instance, YouTube is wonderful in moderation. Just don’t let time go by keeping you from your goal. The same is true for watching television. Again, there is only 24 hours in the day. Look at how you are spending your time and make the necessary adjustments to your schedule.
7. Taking Breaks: When working long and hard on your big project, realize when you have reached a point where you need to take a break. Efficiency matters. And if you have tired yourself out to the point you are inefficient, take a little time to recover. Big projects usually take some time to complete. If you need to take time for a rest period…take it. (Just don’t let resting take too long. Don’t kid yourself here either.)
8. Your Time: You must handle your time wisely. This is so important when starting a big project. Planning is essential. Yes, emergencies happen, but they are not the norm and if you have planned your day well, you will be able to handle emergencies far better than you could otherwise.
A key element is to make sure the major, more important activities are the activities that get done on time. You have a deadline. Be objective about how you are doing over time. You could even do “What if…” strategy sessions. Ask yourself what you will do if certain things happens. Doing that will take a little pressure off when something negative happens. You will have already come up with a strategy.
Perhaps create challenges to see if you can efficiently beat a time for a part of the project. Make it a game. People like games and challenges (just think of athletes in competition).
9. Seeking Help: If called for, ask for help. It might be something as simple as asking your family or friends to give you a helping hand. Or, maybe, you might get some advice from someone who has been through what you are trying to accomplish. Keep in mind that if something similar or the same as what you are attempting has been accomplished, the project is winnable. If other people have done it, you can too.
10. Be objective: The main point here is to see things as they are. You should never kid yourself, and especially when it comes to big projects.
Once you have a good idea of how things are really going, orient your mind by looking at the end result you want and come up with ways to go from where you are to where you want to go. I love a word that Marie Forleo came up with (well, it was a word her mother used). That word is “figureoutable.” Marie says, “Everything is figureoutable.” Marie even wrote a book with that title.
So once you know where you are and there are problems galore, you solve the problems one-by-one because everything is figureoutable.
11. Creativity: Be creative when necessary. This is where Brainstorming comes into play. One good idea can make or break a project. Before, when I said “everything is figureoutable,” I was talking about being as creative as necessary. If you need some techniques to help you hit new highs in creativity, get the book ThinkerToys by Michael Michalko. I’ve used ThinkerToys for years. It is excellent. You will come away with some many ideas, you’ll have a hard time choosing which idea is better. That’s a good problem to have.
12. Commitment: You have to stick-to your project. Commitment makes all the difference in the world.
If necessary remember why you are taking the challenge and what you have to gain. See this as a positive chance to show you can do it. You can’t give up. This is so important. You might want to get a reliability partner. Someone who won’t let you kid yourself. Someone who you report to periodically to give an update to where you are.
Consider the following quote: “Commitment Means You Are Going To Do What You Said You Would Long After The Feeling You Said It In Has Left.” - Inky Johnson. So you do not feel like doing it. That doesn’t matter. You said you would do it and you will. Period, end of story.
Finally, it’s important to see this project as a learning experience so you can see what you can do. I like the saying, “There are no failures, only learning experiences.” All good things take time and effort. For that to happen you have to stick with whatever you are striving for.
Life is an adventure. There are times you have to take on a major project, everyone does. And, like so much in life, there are smart, intelligent ways to accomplish your goals. Ways that make sense.
Or, you could leave it to chance. That, however, doesn’t usually work out well.
The purpose of life is to live (which is easy to say, harder to accomplish). You can’t just sit and dream, dream, dream. You have to do. You have to take action. And…the bigger the project or goal, the more effort, time, and thinking required.
Don’t back down. Take up the challenge and make things happen. That is living a life of initiative.
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