Projects can be hard to figure out where to begin.
Start in the wrong place, and you might end up having to do the work twice, as you figure out a better way to do it.
Or something else shows up you didn’t think about before, which requires you undoing all your hard work.
At best this is frustrating, and time consuming. At worst, this costs money.
Below are some guidelines I use to make my projects run smoothly. I have tried to lay them out as project neutral as I can, obviously not everyone will be converting a car to electric, or even doing anything with a car! These steps can be applied to anything.
So, let’s save some time and money and make sure that your project is running lean:
It’s often best to stand back, take a breath and think:
- What’s the goal?
- How do we achieve it?
- Who might need to help?
- When do I do this?
- When do I do that?
I often find some busy work related to the project that allows me to feel I’m gaining ground, but that I know won’t interfere with the end goal if I rush into it.
What is something that you know you can do now that isn’t going to interfere with the long term goal? Something that lets you dip your feet in and allows you to fully grasp the task at hand?
It might be as simple as, in my instance, taking the time to clean the project. This gives me time to come to terms with what I’m doing, and how I’m going to do it.
Make a list. The first of many. You need to get your head around what needs to be done to complete the project.
Do you need to alter something? If so, you’ll probably need to talk to an engineer.
Lists are always amazing. Nothing helps me organise my thoughts better than to make a list.
You can never be too detailed when it comes to a list, and don’t let the size of your list get to you. This will become your checklist.
Anything from replace a light globe, to researching a new technique or new product you might like to use.
Which leads me to…
Probably the most boring for some people, and also the easiest to get distracted from. Often I’ll get sucked into a YouTube video of some idea I’m looking into, and I’ll find myself an hour later watching videos on base jumping. Don’t know how I got there…
In this step, make shopping lists. Let your dreams get the better of you. You want that fancy set of wheels? Chuck them on the list. You want to figure out how to sew like a professional so you can make your own personal touches, it too goes on the list.
Now that we have our lists from planning and researching, it’s time to plan our resources accordingly. Do you think you’ll have enough time to learn to weave baskets well enough to fit your project?
Will that nice shiny lens you have your eye on, really fit your budget, or is it really necessary. Can something else do the same thing, or perhaps a limited amount of the same thing for cheaper?
It’s crucial you’re honest with yourself here. We’d all love to spend an unlimited amount of time and money on our projects, but it’s this point where our projects come to die. We set our goals too high and we get disappointed when it doesn’t turn out how we had it in our head, and soon our project is sitting gathering dust because we’ve become disheartened by it.
We have lists now, we have some balanced expectations, it’s now time to make it happen. So, take a look at your planning list, and pick a task, and work on it, then cross it off the list. And each time you cross something off your checklist, celebrate it.
Remember, projects are a process, not an event. Things don’t just happen by themselves, you’ve got to work at it consistently. And don’t let yourself give up. Things aren’t supposed to be easy. It’s the time and effort that we put into something that makes it worth it all at the end.
Interested? Follow the project!