Monetize Yourself

March 29, 2010

Organizing your Projects

Filed under: Techniques — Amanda P. @ 9:46 am
Tags: , ,

If you’ve completed yourAnnual Planning, you may have bigger, longer-term projects than you’ve ever taken on before (at least without prodding from a teacher or supervisor). So I’m taking this opportunity to discuss how to keep momentum on year-long projects.
Hopefully you won’t have difficulty keeping up motivation to work on your projects — if they were well selected, you’ll be excited to work on them. But early on, looking at the entire project can be overwhelming; later on, it’s easy to get lost in the details and forget what you’re doing.

For more information on the entirety of Project Management click here. This post is going to focus specifically on project tracking.

When a project can be completed inside a day, it’s not a problem to remember everything related to it. But the longer it goes on, the harder it is to remember

  • everything that needs to be done
  • which of those has been done
  • ideas you had that you might want to do later
  • things you found that you’ll need in order to complete the project

So it’s important, for a project that’s going to stretch over many months, to write all that down.

There are plenty of ways to track your project, and if you’re happy with the method you have, feel free to continue using that. The method presented here is not by any means the way to track projects, it’s just a good way.

I use Microsoft OneNote for my tracking, but the system will work with physical notes or other software. If you want to use binders, then every time I say Notebook, substitute binder. Every time I say Tab, substitute divider. And Page simply means a physical piece of paper.
Likewise, if you want to use file folders, a Notebook is one of those grayish-green folders with the hooks, a tab is a manila folder, and a page is again a physical piece of paper.
If you use Evernote, a notebook is a notebook, a tab is a tag, and a page is a note. (If you use Evernote, there are other useful things you can do with tags, but I’m not going to discuss them here).

While you’re doing your annual planning, make a tab called “Retreat Notes” and make a page for each step; write down all your notes & thoughts from brainstorming, refining, and deciding. I actually find it easier to write this part down on paper; my boyfriend finds it much easier to type. Experiment and see what works best for you; you’ll want to be able to look back over these ideas when you’re done.

In step 5, make a tab for each project. For each tab, make the following pages:

  • a page that has the objective for the project, and the next task that needs to be done.  This Project Overview Page can be printed off if you prefer; it includes Barbara Sher’s Iterative Task Setting.
  • a page that has all the ideas you have on this project: things you want to do, how to accomplish them, things to do, things to look up, and so on.

Keep this notebook on hand for your monthly planning ; it’ll help you remember what you need to do and to set monthly objectives. Keep it on hand also while you’re working on your projects; continue to make notes on things to do , things to look up, things you have looked up, etc. If necessary, make new pages to sort your notes.

Resources For Further Reading
Project Management
Refuse To Choose
Annual Planning
Monthly Planning

1 Comment »

  1. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for and I didn’t even know it. Thank you so much for putting this (and your other posts) together to help me build a useful, comprehensive planning structure. Because of your wisdom, I am going to be so much more productive. ^_^

    Comment by Megan — March 29, 2010 @ 10:43 am | Reply

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