There is art and a science to prioritizing what you consider to be your most important tasks each day. When you are “on,” things are great. You make progress, feel great and celebrate the small victories along the way. When you are “off,” well that’s a completely different story.
Have you ever made it to the end of the week and realized that the one big, important project you wanted to work on got absolutely no attention? What do you do then? How do you keep it at the top of your priorities for next week? Think about a project that is important to you that has been stuck for a while. You know what you need to do, but then life happens, work happens. And all of a sudden, a week has passed and no forward movement has been made -- again!
When a project stalls, here are four questions you should ask yourself. The answers will help you think more productively and make significant progress fast.
What do you want to be known for?
This is your time to be vulnerable. Research professor Brené Brown says it best. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and open to what it is we truly want in life, then we are able to make forward movement. Find time to spend 15 minutes with a piece of paper and pen thinking about the next 12 months of your work and life. Be willing to put yourself first as you craft this idea onto paper. This is your time to not only self-identify with the project you want to start, but soul-identify. Be your most vulnerable self as you answer the ultimate question of “why.”
Related: 5 Key Reasons Projects Fail
Who do you know who is known for that?
Think of someone who is already doing something similar to the project you want to start, and reach out to them. This may seem forward and presumptuous, but consider the potential positive outcomes it will have. Introduce yourself and let them know what you’re working on, or hoping to begin working on. Engage in fluid conversation that allows you to learn from them. Odds are, they will be more than happy to hear from you, help guide you and cheer for you along the way.
Oprah Winfrey’s definition of a mentor is absolutely right -- “a mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” Reaching out to this person will not only get your wheels spinning, but it will feed your soul as you begin to recognize your potential and ability to get this project started.
What are the next three milestones?
Identify three significant aspects of the overall goal you hope to achieve. These will be your subprojects. Add these subprojects to your to-do list about 30 days apart. Each week, review the subproject and choose something you can do next to achieve that part of the overall goal. Often, making a phone call, reviewing a white paper or drafting a letter is just what it takes to create a little momentum that goes a long way. Celebrate these victories along the way. They will keep your fire lit.
“Success is rarely the result of one swell swoop, but more often the culmination of many, many small victories.” -- Joseph M. Marshall III, historian, writer, teacher
What can you automate, delegate or eliminate?
Find time to study your own ways of getting things done. Are there things you can automate, delegate or eliminate? “If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” Let this quote by author John C. Maxwell inspire you to do great things.
Maybe it is a task at home or in the lawn that you can outsource. By outsourcing this task, you will not only be creating more time in your schedule to begin tackling the project that is stuck, but you will be providing a new opportunity for someone else to do something great!
Make getting started easier by considering the art and science behind it all. Be vulnerable, celebrate the victories and make room for what is to come. Go get momentum! You’ve got an important project to start!