In Class 3 of our first Four Weeks to Finished session, we focused on project-planning. And I know this probably sounds so boring, but it’s actually one of my favorite things about working with my STEP Command Central. Every problem/desire/goal/frustration/hope can be turned into a “project” and put into a system that gives you some measure of control.
It’s not that we all need to turn into “control freaks,” but so much of the anxiety and depression people experience stems from a lack of control. When you can easily assess where you do/don’t have influence–and then you can create projects that move you forward where you DO have influence, you suddenly realize that you can impact your reality. That feels amazing.
These are the characteristics I identified for a “successful project”:
- It occupies one of the FEW slots on a Current Projects List.
- The project can either be done in a month’s time–or will have moved forward significantly in a month’s time. It’s not so big that it feels overwhelming. Break it down into a sub-project, if it’s too much.
- You keep all materials related to that project together so you can get right to work when time allows. (If they’re large physical items–scanning, scrapbooking, painting a dresser, building a model plane, etc., they’re in one physical location. If they’re physical papers, they’re in one folder/section of your Support Materials. If they are digital, they are in one folder/notebook in Google Drive, OneNote, Evernote, Dropbox, your hard drive, etc. (If you need to have items in multiple digital locations—because you store large video files in Dropbox, for example, but you organize projects in Google Drive, then you either set up a parallel file structure so it’s easy to find or LINK the Dropbox file somewhere in your Google document.) The goal is to have zero time spent looking for any related information.
- The project is executed with a predictable process. David Allen’s Natural Planning Model is my favorite, and it includes 5 parts (1) Purpose and principles (2) Outcome vision (3) Brainstorm (4) Organize (5) Next Actions. See our Holiday Planning Guide as a full example of that–linked at the bottom!
And here are a couple of pictures you might enjoy!
This is the worksheet we give to everyone who attends our free training How to Finally Stop Drowning in Piles – linked at the bottom, as well! We invite you to identify projects, brainstorm the next actions required to get it done, and then prioritize those next actions and put them into the appropriate context (which is where you ARE when you are getting them done). Eric likes to think of the project as a Pez dispenser and the next actions like Pez candies. 🙂
When we wanted to take our family camping in Yosemite, Eric set the project up in a very Pez-friendly way, and it was awesome.
As usual, I have been SO proud of our Finishers this past week. While it has sometimes felt overwhelming as they really started digging into their backlog, they’ve been sharing things like this:
Ignoring the piles of stuff often feels like the easy route, but honestly, when you build your Command Central and realize you have the tools to actually get out of the overwhelm and stay out of the overwhelm, that feels so much better.
Homework this week for our Four Weeks to Finished program is as follows:
● Continue working with your STEP Command Central–specifically keeping VERY short, focused lists and processing all incoming ideas, papers, tasks, etc. into your new system.
● Spend some time working on your selected projects for the month and making sure that you feel comfortable breaking them down into bite-sized pieces, organizing the actionable steps, and prioritizing project work into your days and weeks.
● *Ask questions* if you find there are any sticking points. Your calendar, Next Actions List, routines, and processing should start feeling more natural at this point, and you should see yourself moving forward/building momentum on your projects.
Sending so much love and LOTS of encouragement!!
Your Play-Along-at-Home Calendar–at the bottom of this page featuring our “Organized Mindset” Audio Series
LearnDoBecome Holiday Planning Guide Using David Allen’s 5-Step Natural Planning Model