Tame Your Monster Projects at Home and at Work: The Step-by-Step Guide
1. Pick a project to tackle. This works best with straightforward projects that don't require major prep or mindset shifts.
2. Pinpoint a due date. Decide when you want the project done and count the days between now and then. Make sure not
to count nights you know you won't be able to work on this (ie. travel or special plans). However, making this as consistent as possible is key.
3. Estimate how long the project will take. I like to estimate high to create some buffer for the unexpected - better to finish early than to scramble at the end.
4. Figure out your daily duration. This one requires some simple math but don't freak out...I'll walk you through it. Here's the equation:
estimated total time in minutes / number of days / number of people working = daily duration
Example: Say your mother-in-law is visiting in 3 weeks and you've been using the guest bed as catch-all for all the stuff you don't know what to do with. You have 21 days before she arrives, but on 4 of those, you have date nights or evening meetings, which leaves 17 days to work with. You safely think it will take 5 hours (300 minutes) to get the bed in workable condition. You and your husband/partner will be working on this together.
300 minutes / 17 days / 2 people = 9 minutes per day (rounded up from 8.82)
5. Decide on the best time to work on this. Consistency is key here. The aim is to create a habit, which is one of the best ways ever to take the sting out of tasks you don't enjoy. Since our kids are still too young to involve safely and efficiently in most major household projects, after the kids go to bed but before we switch into the "off" position works best for my family. For you, it could be first thing in the morning. Or right when you return to the office from lunch. Or as soon as you get home from work/school. It's up to you to decide what will set you and your family up for the most success.
6. Get a move on. When the time you designated in Step 5 rolls around, set a timer (on your phone, your microwave, or even a good old fashioned egg timer) and dive in. Don't overthink it. If you're not sure where to start, just start somewhere.
7. Stop. When the timer sounds, you're done for the day. Take a few seconds to tidy up and put away anything that could be dangerous in little hands and then go about your day. If you're really on a roll and want to take a bit longer to get to a natural breaking point, go for it. But beware of making this a habit. This could create an unspoken expectation in yourself and your work partners, which opens the door for a slacker complex to creep in and neutralizes all the easy-breezy magic in this technique.
8. Celebrate and enjoy. When your project is done, take a bit to bask in your accomplishment and pat yourself (and
your partner) on the back before diving into the next one.
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© Mary Diridon 2013, All Rights Reserved