I get overwhelmed with big projects and that leads me to procrastinate. Whether it’s cleaning out a room, closet, or working on a book proposal, I also have a tendency to overestimate how quickly I can complete a project. I’ve been reading lots of interesting books lately and I’m seeing the same advice over and over. For example, in Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance, Julia Cameron talks about her goal of writing a few pages each day. She doesn’t say she’s going to write a chapter, or tens of pages. Her goal is three. Her consistency of writing each day adds up to complete books and screenplays.
The most important thing is to keep working small and steady. If you break down a project into small daily tasks and don’t overwhelm yourself, you’ll have less drama in your life and be able to finish the job. The biggest bit of advice is to start. That’s right, don’t wait for things to be perfect or your muse to appear, like Nike says, “Just do it.”
I found an article on Inc. called, “Use These 6 Little Steps to Make Really Big Things Happen” by Chris Winfield. “This simple system will help you start (and finish!) any big project, achieve huge goals, and make each day ‘your masterpiece’.”
Here are the basics of his six tips. (If you want more details, read the article linked above):
Step #1: NAME Your Goal
This one is pretty easy because all you have to do is think about a big project or big idea that’s looming in your mind.
Step #2: SET a Reasonable Deadline
I underlined reasonable because many times, especially when we’re feeling really motivated and inspired (think New Year’s resolutions), we can be a little over zealous with our deadlines.
Step #3: BREAK It Down (Work Backwards)
For this step, you’re going to work backward in time.
Break your goal down by weeks, months, quarters…whatever timeframes are necessary based on the goal itself and the deadline you’ve set…from the deadline backward until today.
Step #4: ANSWER the “When?” and “What?”
Once you have your goal broken down from the deadline to today, the next step entails deciding the “When?” and the “What?”
Step #5: START
The fifth step is simply to start putting your plan (your when and what) into action.
Step #6: BRING IT to the Present
The next and final thing you want to do is maintain that action, that motion, that momentum.
“How do you eat an elephant?” my husband asked me. “One bite at a time.”
What’s advice do you have for reaching your goals and dreams?