I’ve just completed a two-year project. It’s been hard going, and at times it has been hard to envisage me completing and succeeding. So I’ve thought about the things that helped along the way, attitudes and ways of working. I have arrived at five general project management points that I think are transferrable to other situations, and that I’d like to share with you.
Being clear about what you have to do. Being clear about how long it takes. Then double it, because that’s how long it really takes. Keeping a calendar where you set time off for the different tasks your project involves. Design in plenty of extra time to complete these tasks, because the unexpected will happen. Sticking to your calendar.
This is a major aspect of bringing any project to completion. Be realistic about what effort the project requires. Can you deliver what the project demands? If not, reduce your expectations. The baseline is always yourself, what you are able and willing to do. Time management is an integral part of the overall project management.
Loving what you do:
If you love what you do, then it’s fun to do. If you’re enjoying the process, then the project will be an adventure that you explore step by step. It’s just so much easier than dragging yourself along by the scruff of your neck to something you don’t really enjoy. Think about what matters here – life is too short to do things you don’t love. If you realise you are in this position, either find a way to appreciating it more or whinge what you do. You only live once.
Sure your project is important, but so is the rest of your life. Not forgetting friends and family. So make sure you know what matters to you and why. Then you need to set clear boundaries, first to yourself and then to others around you. Make sure they know what they can expect from you and what you need from them. Say it very clearly. More than once. Also, you need to schedule in time to relax, to send with friends and family, to having fun and to sleeping. Put it in your calendar (I’m serious!) and stick to it. If you don’t take the time to change with the people you love, you might find they’ve moved on without you. And suddenly you have become your project. Make sure you explore the different aspects of you and develop them as well as your project. The project – and you – will be all the better for it.
Step-by-step goals, building success:
We’re quite simple, really. We want to plan something, do it and feel great about having done it. We want that pat on the back. Some projects may last several years – and that’s too long to wait to get reassurance and affirmation of your competence. Look at your project ad break it down into smaller parts. And again. Keep repeating this until you arrive at monthly and weekly goals. Then it’s time to look at daily targets, you might want to do this on a weekly basis. What do you want to get out of each day? Make sure you find something precise that you can tick off when you’ve done it. That way, you will build an experience of achieving and accomplishing along the way.
The most sensible advice I have ever got on project management – or any task, really, came from a fortune cookie. It reads: To be successful, you must decide exactly what you want to accomplish; then resolve to pay the price to get it.
Finding the community of Cycle Harmony has made a huge difference to me. I am delighted to be writing to you from the Red Tent and hope to share thoughts and experiences you recognise, or find useful to ponder upon. I look forward to working with you all in exploring what it is to be women, and hope to hear from you. ~ Vild