Let’s get to today’s problem. It’s too easy to get bored with our current projects. This happens all the time and to every one of us unfortunately. We live in a multitasking world and our attention spans are nowhere near as long as our parents’ and grandparents’ were. And if you are like me, you have five or six projects going on simultaneously, and you aren’t really able to focus on any of them. You juggle them all, like balls, up in the air, trying to stay focused, but there are some parts of the project that are dull and very painful.
Getting through those parts takes iron will, but you’re too distracted to remember what that is. We might get distracted by what I call a “bright shiny objects.” Maybe we stumble upon a project or a sales letter, something new and cool we think we should be working on. We start that project and then the same thing happens that always happens. We get about halfway through, and then we lose interest.
There can be a few reasons for this occurring. It may be that the “boring” parts are more difficult than the fun parts. Or maybe the “boring” parts just take longer than the other parts. It’s a vicious cycle that explains why few people succeed profoundly with their businesses or make huge money with these projects. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Although some experts might disagree, I actually suggest keeping a few active projects on your plate, because of a specific strategy that has worked for me for as long as I can remember. As I said earlier, I work on five or six projects concurrently.
The reason I am able to see them through successfully is because I break each larger project into smaller, measurable and manageable parts. For example, let’s say I want to write a book—it might be a guide, a short report, or whatever. I may want to use it for lead generation, might want to sell the report, or I might want to publish it on kindle. The process is the same whatever the purpose. I set that amount, that target amount of words for the total writing project, let’s say about 10,000 words.
So, having set your goal, you might be thinking “wow, 10,000 words! That’s a lot!” It is a lot, and if you have ever written a 10,000-word book, that is quite an accomplishment. Many people start such a project, but few ever finish it. But our strategy here is to break it up before we ever sit down and start to write. The puzzle is a 10,000-word book. The pieces of the puzzle are smaller goals comprised of manageable groups of tasks.
What Goes Into Writing A 10,000 Word Book?
The writing, of course, then editing and proofreading, graphics and cover work, and finally, you need to review and publish the book. The entire project is really just 4 major steps. It is easier looking it like that than just saying, “Oh my gosh! I have a 10,000-word book to write,” or “how am I going to get it done”… Next, you have to break the project down even more.
The biggest part is the writing aspect, right? What we want to do is set a deadline for the total project. Setting a deadline is a bigger step than it might at first appear. Short deadlines are ambitious and they can be motivating, but the shorter they are, the more pressure you have just given yourself—perhaps unnecessarily.
That pressure will cause you to get overwhelmed and probably will become the reason that you are not going to finish the project. What’s more, the shorter the deadline, the more likely you are to have to write all day long instead of giving yourself breaks for other aspects of your life and your work. It just not going to be fun.
Obviously if you are on a time schedule where you have to complete it in a shorter period of time, that’s a different story than what we are discussing here. So, with this 10,000-word book, we are going to give ourselves 30 days to write. If we give ourselves 30 days to write, that means that we have to write 333 words per day. 333 words per day is a much more manageable goal. In fact, the better you are at writing the easier writing 333 words will be. For example, when I am prepared and in the zone, I can write 500 words in about 15 minutes or so. It wasn’t always this way. The more you do it, the easier it becomes—much like lifting weights or jogging.
Admittedly, some writing days are going to be harder than others. There are always parts of the project that will take longer. For example, one of my least favorite parts of a project is research. I prefer to write what I know and that’s how my writing gets done very quickly. But, if it’s a topic that I’m not quite sure about, I might have to spend a little time doing research. My solution? I delegate! I might hire someone to do the research for me, and that takes away some of the dull aspects of the project. It amazes me to say it, but there are people out there who actually enjoy researching, so if I pick the right one and pay her fairly, I am likely to produce a better project in the end.
Here’s where it get’s really cool. Let’s say the worse case scenario it takes you about an hour and a half per day to write 333 words. Now you have more time in your day to dedicate to the other aspects of the project. So, we are not looking at it in columns, like I have to get my writing done, then I’m going to get my graphics done, then I’m going to edit and proofread. We can actually stack the work. Once we are finished with the 333 words for the day, we can now start looking at graphics we might want to use in our report or on the cover. Or maybe we want to look for designers to design those graphics.
The point is that we aren’t just working on one aspect of the project at a time, and with this method, we have time to do more aspects simultaneously. You are working just a little bit more and more towards your goal every single day. This method takes all of the overwhelming parts out of this enormous project of writing a 10,000- word book or report. The amazing part is when you break the project up into bite-sized pieces, at the end of 30 days, you should have a completed book and a completed project. And that’s what this is all about.
You can apply this strategy to anything you are working on in your life. For example, there are some topics that are easier for me to write about than others. Some topics are my favorites, so writing about them is really no problem. The work goes quickly and it is enjoyable. Other times, when I have to write a blog post about things that don’t move me, sometimes it feels like I’m going to climb Mount Everest. So I give the less enjoyable the same treatment I did for my book. If, for example, I need to do a blog post of about 1,000 words, I will literally spend 10 days, and only write 100 words per day and after the 10 days, I have a completed blog post. Suddenly, that article is not that hard to complete, and it’s not evil at all.
Can You Juggle It All?
Hopefully, it is becoming apparent that it’s quite possible to juggle about five or six or even more projects at once if you are using this strategy. As you can see, what I’m spending is at most one hour and a half on my 333 words, which is probably not going to take me that entire time. But let’s just say it is, then I have the entire rest of the day to complete portions of the other projects that I’m juggling.
Now you might not have the liberty of working on other projects. Perhaps you have a full-time job, or a houseful of children, or both. If so, then this 10,000-word book is likely all the project-oriented work you’re doing right now, and you want to see it through. Regardless of the other aspects of your life, you can see how it is entirely possible that you can work on multiple projects and, by employing this strategy, get more done—and better. At the end of the allotted time period, you will be done those projects and you will, by definition, become a more successful person.
Now for this strategy to work effectively, you have to be organized and you must be determined. There will be some days that are going to be harder than others. But, thankfully, there will also be smooth and easy days. So if your daily goal is to write 333 words, some days you are going to not want to stop when you reach that goal. Maybe you catch a tail wind and are going to write 500 words. Maybe you’ll even write 1,000 words that day.
That is the beauty of this method. After such a productive smooth and easy day, you can decide whether or not to take the next day off from writing. You can also decide to keep to the schedule, and write another 333 words. I suggest that you try not to skip any days, no matter how productive the prior days were. Keep on a schedule, just to keep the momentum going. If you finish earlier, that’s a good thing, and you can allocate the balance of the time to other projects or other aspects of this project.
The more fluent you become at the writing, the more flexibility you have in how you spend your productive days. You can decide what you want to do and when. What’s your schedule going to be like? How often will you take days off from writing or the other aspects? Perhaps you want to write only six days of the week. If you front-load your productivity, you have the ability to do that and still reach your goals. I do it that way and I am able to take most Sundays off. That is good for a number of reasons.
If you do skip a day, or the day just gets by and you don’t do your writing, or you don’t complete whatever project tasks you were going to do that day, make sure you make them up somehow. Double it up the next day, or whatever reasonable steps you need to take to stay on track. The only way that this is going to work is if you stick to the schedule. It’s almost like magic, at the end of your allotted schedule that the project is complete, and it really didn’t feel like a big project at all. That’s the real beauty of this strategy.
There’s one caution I want to share with this method, and you should be careful of not doing, is multitasking. Now you may be thinking that the juggling of five or six projects at once, like I described above, is the very definition of multitasking. It is not. There are important differences.
Multi-tasking means that you are not putting 100% of the effort into what you are doing. It means that, while you are writing your daily goal number of words, not taking calls, checking emails or Facebook, clicking popup ads, or listening to talk radio. I’m not going to preach about distractions because that goes without saying. I’m telling you to control your environment and to give yourself the greatest chance for success by shutting those things out for limited times and plowing through your work uninterrupted.
Maybe even set aside a limited time on your schedule for doing each of those things. That way, you aren’t missing much, and you are making great progress toward your ultimate goal—SUCCESS!
Now, I’m going to leave it with this. You, and you alone, are in complete control of doing what you need to get done. It’s all on you and you are in control of your destiny. You do the work, stick to schedule, you complete it, and then that’s your accomplishment, and yours alone. It is outside of the hands of Fate. Obviously things can happen. Bad things or great things in that time period that might keep you from working or whatever it is but for the most part, it all up to you to complete projects and add projects to your list. It’s not in the hands of somebody else.
It’s not a monetary goal, really right now. This could be something you are working on to make money later on which is always nice, but it is all up to you. So get it done, break it up, make it easy, make it less overwhelming and that’s how you complete projects and stay motivated.