How to Effectively Manage Large Projects

19 08 2010

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A constant challenge which we all face is managing large projects and wrapping our arms around our to-do lists. It seems like the minutes, hours, days, and weeks fly by ever so quickly that before we know it the next season has arrived.

There are a number of tips to stick with to ensure that you are able to deliver projects and tasks on time without stressing yourself out and becoming overwhelmed. In the past I have become a fan of the following:

  • You’re not Superman. We all can’t walk around with a “S” on our chest, so it’s important to recognize that it all can’t be done in one day. Make sure that you don’t put yourself in impossible situations. Consider this when you are balancing your work, volunteer, and extracurricular activities.
  • Define Priorities. Think about what is important and what “must” get accomplished. With this planning use the scheduling recommendations below to stay on top of your activities from a daily, monthly, and long-term perspective.
    • Make note of your daily to-do items so that you are crossing some of these tasks off each day. I advise making this before you go to bed so that you can wake up and start your day off with a fresh start. You’ll be able to identify what you accomplished the previous day and can now look into the upcoming day.
    • Use a calendar whether this is a Google calendar or a planner. Record your events and keep track of commitments which are taking place in the upcoming weeks and months.
    • In addition, develop a method to plan out your goals and other tasks which may not fall into your daily or monthly timeframe. Scheduling these into your life will become a routine habit and will allow you to plan into the future.
  • Avoid Distractions. It is easy to become distracted whether it is checking emails, text messaging, listening to music, among many other interruptions which have entered our lives due to advances in technology. While it may be difficult, impose self-will upon yourself and limit yourself to check your email after you’ve accomplished an hour of work (define your own guidelines, but make sure that you are realistic – a break every five minutes won’t cut it).

Take one step at a time and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Take into account that larger companies such as Nordstrom, Wal-Mart, and Google didn’t grow to their current size overnight. With hard work and persistence these companies reached their fame and fortune. Focus on small tasks and break all of your large projects into subtasks and these will become a lot more manageable.

Do you currently use gantt charts, calendars, or mapping tools to plan and manage your projects and tasks? Please share what’s worked in the past for you.

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