5 Steps to Nix Nasty Project Overwhelm

Overwhelmed by a project
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Often the most important projects at work and in our personal lives get complicated and overwhelming due to their size and scope. The result is that these paramount projects get put on the back burner and never completed.

I’ve been facing this recently on my own big projects, and I’ve carried the burden of added stress, frustration, and my fair share of analysis paralysis.  But in this process, I’ve discovered a simple exercise that’s made a big difference.

Tackle that Overwhelming Project with Ease

You can use this technique to tackle your own project overwhelm, ease your mind, and ultimately complete your project successfully.

This technique can apply to any significant deliverable including:

  • presentation creation
  • book writing
  • creating a budget and sticking to it
  • cost savings initiatives
  • revenue driving programs

5 Steps to Nix Nasty Project Overwhelm

Use these 5 steps to create a quick and effective project plan to keep you organized as well as provide peace of mind.

  1. Get the clay on the wheel – Start by listing out all the actions you need to take.  This is the “clay” and its important to get it out there without any hesitation or judgement…you’ll deal about the molding later. Enjoy this part by letting your mind go crazy with every itty-bitty actionable detail you can imagine.  Consider using one of these tools to help you…. the free version of the mind mapping software, Mindmeister. Excel, Word, Evernote, or simply a legal pad and pen.
  2. Group your actions by category – After the you’ve written down all your work actions, identify 3-5 overarching categories to add structure.  Then quickly group them by moving your actions beneath the best corresponding category.  A benefit of this part of the process is that often when you group them by category you’ll find duplicate actions that you can consolidate or remove entirely.
  3. Put them in a logical sequence – Under each category, put each action in a logical sequence.  I like to number them sequentially.
  4. Assign a time requirement – Simply classify each action as a half day, day, or week activity. Most activities seem to take longer than expected so that’s why I like to round them up to at least a half day.
  5. Assign dates – Assign dates starting from the date you’d like the total project complete and then work backwards to the beginning.  Compress your project time line by identifying activities that you can overlap, delegate, or collaborate on.

So try the five steps above for your next project and notice how it reduces the overwhelm.  Use your newly created plan as a template to speed up your process for future projects.

So what’s your story around project overwhelm and how did you handle it?

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