In order to progress in a project or with a more extensive task, we make sure to always have a next step clearly defined. It might sound obvious. But do we always adhere to this simple rule?
This is particularly useful and simplifying when a project or task appears unmanageable and ambiguous. Since a few weeks back I am involved in a project which is extensive, somewhat unclear and explorative.
Since this is the first time we have tried something like what the project entails, there is no manual or determined plan. I have gradually defined the next step in the form of to-do-tasks as the project has progressed, completed them and checked them off my list.
Transform stagnation into motion
As I had just ticked the most recent next step off my list the other day, I did not define a new next step right away, but left my office and left it for later. But after a little while I noticed how I was still thinking about the project.
It suddenly felt difficult and laborious, and now it felt as if the whole thing was pending. I was not able to let go of it entirely. The mere though of what we had ahead of us felt overwhelming, and the zest and entusiasm that I had previously felt had completely vanished.
But, as soon as I decided what the next, small step should be, my entusiasm returned. I immediately started thinking of when I would be able to take the step (”preferably right now!”), and I felt energized again.
A first step is all it takes
This experience made me see even clearer what I need to progress:
- A next step for every project.
- If I still postpone taking or doing what this next step entails, then define an even smaller next step before the one I originally decided to do.
And if you are somewhat like me and most other people I meet through my work, this applies to you as well.
Look through your project-overview.
- Have you defined a next step for every project? If not, think of one.
- Do you have a project that has stagnated and which you feel stuck in? Think of a smaller next step.
That is all.
Continuous motion is preferable
If you always have a next step defined for every project or task you want to complete, and if you define an even smaller step if you get stuck with something, you will continue progressing. It is like driving. You need to switch to a lower gear when going uphill, and before you know it you have reached the top of the hill and can continue driving.
You will postpone fewer things and will not feel as stressed as deadlines draw near.
What is your method?
How do you make sure that you are always moving forward in all your projects, tasks and engagements? Share your experiences with me.