There is no shortage of ideas. You have great ideas floating through your brain at any given time. But maybe it’s a struggle to pick an idea and see it through to completion. For a lot of creatives, knowing what to do first can feel overwhelming.
Why should you care about completing projects? Completing projects can mean…
- More money
- More clarity about what your clients need help with
- Being seen as an expert
- People learn how they can work with you or buy your products
Having a plan is crucial in accomplishing goals you want to achieve. Even if it’s a pie in the sky idea, it can be done with proper planning and execution. Let’s break down how you can get your idea to become a reality!
ONE: Decide on and commit to one project that will move you forward in your business
The first thing you need to do is to dump all your ideas floating around your head. Then you’ll want to look at all of your brilliant ideas and give yourself some tough love. It’s time to decide on one of those brilliant ideas to actually bring to life. It might feel daunting to have to choose what you should focus on. I’d suggest filtering your ideas with some of these questions to come up with what you’ll work on next:
- Does this move my business forward in a direction that I’d like to see it go?
- Does this project allow me to profit and serve? If it only serves, and you need money in your business, I want you to revisit this later.
- Do I have time to actively pursue this right now?
Committing to a project means that it becomes a priority project. This project becomes something that’s just as important as your clients and customers. You’re saying, “yes, this is important to me and I’m ready to put it out into the world!”
TWO: Brainstorm the phases or subcategories of your project
The next part of the planning process is to brainstorm what the biggest chunks of the project. You can think of these components as phases of a project or a subcategory.
For example, if you’re looking to complete your website, subcategories might be: Writing copy for your site, Working with a Web Designer, and Creating the Graphics for your site. In each of those subcategories, there are tasks you’ll need to complete, but we first want to understand what the bigger picture is.
If you’re writing a book, there might be different phases: Concept of the book, Outlining the book, Completing the research, Writing, and Editing. These phases flow from one to the next where one stage relies on the one before.
In another example, there might be simultaneous sub-projects that need to happen at once. When planning a party, there might be small projects that happen concurrently: Invitation design, event design and planning, catering decisions, logistics. You’ll want to know what the subcategories are and each of them can have their own list of tasks that get housed under them.
THREE: Under Each Subcategory, figure out smaller tasks you’ll need to complete in order to be done with this phase
Once you’ve decided on the subcategory or phase, you’ll want to outline the tasks that need to be completed. If you’re planning a challenge, you need to create smaller steps in order to achieve each stage of your project.
Your list under the subcategory “Create Challenge Videos” might look like:
- Outline the Challenge Video Talking Points
- Choose Format of videos
- Decide on Technology and set up so it’s ready for me to record
- Record Video 1
- Record Video 2
- Record Video 3
- Edit Video 1
- Edit Video 2
- Edit Video 3
While it might feel tedious to write all those steps out, having tasks you can cross off gives you momentum and also help you visualize how much more you have ahead of you. Once you have these, make sure you plug them into something like Trello or Asana!
Assess your resources. Figure out what human resources (your time), financial resources, information, you’ll need to complete the project. Without a clear idea of how much you need to dedicate to a project is one of the major reasons creatives don’t finish projects.
FOUR: Assign Deadlines + Schedule it!
Now that you know what the project phases or subcategories are and the tasks that live under, you can start assigning deadlines! Before you get deadline happy, you need to look at the big project deadline. When do you want to finish the project and looking at what you already have on your plate, can you actually complete it by this deadline? I see too many people set tough and often arbitrary deadlines. Knowing what you know about the time you’re able to allocate to this project, assign yourself realistic deadlines with a buffer. You want to make sure you overestimate how much time it will take for you to accomplish something.
Then work backwards and assign deadlines to the subcategories and phases, then tasks. I always recommend putting these dates in your calendar to remind you of the deadlines.
We’re all about celebrating! When you complete a subcategory or phase of work, take some time to celebrate. When you complete the project, make sure you acknowledge all that hard work you did and celebrate!! When you keep moving without celebrating, no amount of progress will never feel like enough. We want to cultivate that feeling of successful achievement whenever you make forward momentum on your work!
A Pro Tip: If you’re planning to launch something that you haven’t yet created, that’s actually two different projects. One is to create the product (like a course, a blog, a website) then the second project is creating the launch. I’d make sure you give yourself plenty of time to plan the actual launch if you want to see a particular result from your launch!
Let’s work through it together.
What’s the project you want to make a reality? Share it in the comments!