The more I talk to people, the more I’m shocked to see how many of them, being incredibly good at what they do and sometimes even talented, give up on all their plans and dreams simply because of the seeming complexity of following through.
It’s time to grow up
I remember to have exactly the same attitude back in junior school. If something could not be done within a few hours time, it was considered to be impossible.
Rarely any of my accomplishments were impressive even to myself, because they were the few ones which got through the filtering and testing of being possible. As you can guess, all the possible things were not just possible, but simply trivial. No matter how successful I would be in accomplishing such goals, results wouldn’t be impressive simply because the challenges were not big ones to begin with.
Since then I’ve obviously moved on. I grew up and acquired different beliefs on my way, particularly the ones which directly benefit my success with tasks and projects of any size.
If you still find yourself trying to break free from the position I was in before, it is time for you to grow up and learn the amazing inner power you have.
Essentials of being successful
Long ago, I’ve realized that it’s absolutely crucial to learn tackling things little by little. To start with analysis and planning, and not with reviewing possible obstacles.
I’ve learned to look at every task as if it’s as easy to accomplish as any of the ones I’ve had before. And with the practice I’ve had over the past 10 years or so, it sure proved to be possible to reach my goals most of the times.
I finally understood that what really matters is your attitude, your confidence and your motivation in a context of a certain task.
The task itself, along with any possible obstacles on your way of accomplishing it, represents only a small portion of the whole project. Once you agree with yourself, that a particular task means only so much in your estimations, and that you can easily overweight it with your experience and confidence, any task will seem and feel easier to accomplish.
How to master any project
There is a number of rules everyone can benefit from. Most of them are really simple, and the reason for this is this: you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to become successful in your life! Just follow a few simple steps, stay motivated, be persistent – and you will learn to tackle any task and master any project!
Below are some of the most favourite principles of mine, I use them every day and they’ve helped me tremendously over the years.
Key principles to manage any task:
1. Analyze the task and make a plan
It is important to do this in the same order I give you: analyze, then plan – not the other way around! :)
When I was just getting started with my career, I’ve had numerous scenarios which worked out okay in the end, but would be an absolute success if they had been first analyzed and only then thoroughly planned.
There are many benefits in taking your time to look at your task and analyze it before planning:
- making sure you understand the task
Sometimes just re-reading the email you got from your boss helps you identify a number of points which have to be discussed and agreed upon.
- solution could be closer that it seemed
Indeed, many tasks sound awfully complicated, yet when you take a couple minutes to read through, you find out that out of a two-page project plan you personally have only a small number of straightforward tasks to do.
2. Don’t make things more complicated than they are
Never start your planning with making false suppositions about any stages of the project. Planning is not a stage for guessing how good or bad a particular realization step is.
Your goal is to end up with a project plan – even in the name itself it suggests that you need a plan to accomplish the task, and not a list of reasons why there is absolutely no way for you to do reach your goals.
Don’t try to be smart or original. There will be time for this later. For now, just come up with a really simple plan. Define your project goals, and build a chain of events which will have to happen before every goal is going to be met. You can always expand your plan and add more details, but it is important to maintain your focus.
The way you do planning is that you start with something simple, and then add details. You start with the beginning of the project, with the realization stage, and with the completion of the project. Then you expand this list by adding various project goals and specifying tasks necessary to achieve particular goals.
3. Plan your project one step at a time, little by little
As with many things, once your initial planning is done, you need to get your project started. Identify some simple steps and start following up.
Do one thing at a time, and take particular care in focusing on how a particular completed task fits into the overall picture and brings you closer to the project completion. If something doesn’t seem right – it probably isn’t. Look at the task again just in case it has to be rearranged.
Remember: with many projects, you can’t build a thorough plan without doing the initial analysis and some related work. This means that if your project plan doesn’t seem perfect, you simply need to work more on it – there’s no reason to pronounce the plan wrong and start afresh.
4. Review your progress regularly
It is one of the most important things in project management, so get into the habit of reviewing your progress regularly and thoroughly.
Some people are just afraid to review a project. They have this unexplained fear which stops them every time they should be making a review. They find dozens of valid reasons to review the project some other time, and usually end up approaching the deadline, finally going through a rather nervous review, and realizing it is impossible to meet the deadline and it’s unfortunately too late to do anything about it.
Make sure you never act like this. If there is as much as a hint of you not willing to review any part of your project – drop everything else immediately. Stop anything project-related you’ve been working on and ask yourself: is there a reason for me to fear the review?
Fear is nothing but a signal to be cautious. It’s not a sign of an inescapable project failure or anything. It’s just a sign your mind gives you that there is something vague or unknown you have to concentrate on. You have to identify the unknowns and make sure you answer all the related questions.
When you have all the answers to all the questions related to your project, you’ll feel much more confident. Like I said, it is important to be able to see the whole picture. You don’t have to know every little detail about accomplishing a particular goal of your project, because just having a rough idea of how you would tackle the task is going to be helpful enough.
Changing your project plan
Review your project, and make changes to the plan accordingly. Don’t think of any changes as if it’s your fault!.
Changes are good! They are the details, the additional information you need to bring into the project to make sure it’s going to be a success.
Now, if you have to change something, and there are valid reasons to do so, it’s best to flag it early and act on it. After all, even valid reasons to change something in the project will seem irritating when it’s too late to act on them.
It’s always better to ask and answer any possible questions, clear up any ambiguities and finalize any decisions – no matter what state of the project it is.
Positive attitude is the key
I could’ve ended my post right here, but I want to remind you once more that your attitude is the key to your success!
There are no impossible tasks, there is only lack of analysis and planning.
There are no unexplained fears, there are only people not paying enough attention.
I hope my article taught you something new today. Go out there and give some of your tasks or projects a try. If you have some projects where you had failed before – that’s even better! Make it a shiny success this time around, and prove once more to yourself and everyone else: if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything!