Updated: Jan 4, 2022
Do you have a habit of starting projects, but not finishing them? In our busy lifestyle we encounter a lot of things. We give priorities to some things more than they deserve and that's where we start to neglect our previous pending work. These projects could be of Graphic designing, Video Editing, Freelancing, Coding, School/College work or personal work.
Completing a project successfully takes proper planning and conscious action. If you have ever embarked on a project, you’d know that every goal/project comes with its own set of challenges which are not visible when you first start. Finishing a project on a right time is must and it's also a specialty of a high quality designer.
Also Read: 10 Common Mistakes Designers Make #1
Either its a client's work or a personal one, finishing a project gives a meaning to why you started it in the first place. When we left a project in progress and start to work on other things, then there's a low possibility that we are ever going to finish it or even work on it again.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Here are 10 best tips on how to finish the projects you start:
1. BE SELECTIVE IN WHAT YOU BEGIN WITH
When you start on a project, make sure it is something you are passionate about and you want to see through. You should embarked on things which was half-interested in in the past. This resulted in waste of time and resources which could have been better utilized elsewhere. Because of that, you'll be more conscious of how you utilize your time and energy.
If you set a high threshold on what you want to do, the completion rate is also higher. If you aren’t sure that this is something you really want to do, dip your feet into the pool first – try it out on a small scale and see if it’s what you’re interested in.
Also Read: Why Branding Is So Important In 2022?
When you start a project, you’re tempted to start working right away. It could be because you’re overflowing with ideas, or maybe because the project is already familiar to you. In the long run, though, taking your time to prepare first can be far more efficient. It makes it easier to:
Avoid missing deadlines
Prioritize key tasks
Minimize the risk
Achieve the desired results
Before starting a new project, you should prepare by making a list of all the steps you will need to take to get to the desired result.
Organize the tasks by priority and type
Make sure that you have a good understanding of your final goal
Break down what needs to be accomplished to reach those targets
Define the desired goals and objectives
2. IDENTIFY ALL RELEVANT TASKS
You must identify all the work items, tasks, and processes that are going to be a part of the project. This can be easy to do for repeat or simple projects where activities are straightforward or clear to you because they have been performed previously.
For new and complex projects, identifying all the necessary work items can be more difficult. In this case, you must forecast the requirements on the normal and worst-case scenarios so that they can be prepared for environmental risks with contingencies.
In companies they do resource planning, where they estimate how much resources is needed for a project. After which, they plan out the manpower and investment accordingly. For us, that means doing a quick plan on how much time and effort this idea will take, so we can have a bird’s eye view. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive. Just a quick outline will help. The point is to have something that guides you
3. BUDGET YOUR TIME AND ENERGY
After you create your outline, you should have a realistic idea of how much time and effort is needed to complete it. Plan out your time and resources accordingly and integrate them into your schedule. Block out time in your calendar for the project. Give yourself some buffer as well.
A big reason for loss of enthusiasm or energy is when people underestimate the amount of work needed to bring the goal to life. Good planning of resources help you plan out your energy and expectations.
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Also Read: 5 Tips For A Great Logo Design
You know you have to put in hours and work to get the final output, so you’ll manage yourself appropriately to achieve your desired outcome. This’ll lead to a higher project success rate.
4. CREATE A PROJECT COMPLETION PROCESS
There should be a robust monitoring process for each project task to ensure work is progressing according to schedule. The review can be carried out on a daily basis for short-term projects or on a specific day each week for tasks that can take months to complete.
Once an activity has been finished, it should be checked for accuracy of completion and quality review before proceeding to the next task.
You should assign some time for reviewing progress on each activity and must not neglect the review process in favor of pursuing other tasks. The continuous review process will ensure that you are on top of the different activities for the project.
5. FOCUS ON A SINGLE TASK AT A TIME
The Pomodoro technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, as a time management method. The rules are simple: you break down your work into cycles and then take a quick, timed break.
The technique is based on a feeling of urgency manifested in the timer. Instead of feeling like you’ve got countless hours to get things done and inevitably squander those precious work hours on distractions, you know you’ve just got 25 minutes to do as much work as you can. Once four Pomodoro sessions have passed, take a 15-20 minute break.
Steps to implement this technique:
Find out how much work your activity requires and split it into small tasks
Turn off all internal and external distractions
Activate a 25-minute timer set
Only focus on that one task before the timer is over
Put a checkmark on your list of tasks that show that you have completed one Pomodoro
Take a five-minute break
6. SELECT GOALS WITH REALISTIC TIMELINES
As a project manager, you want to strive for high goals while leveraging a realistic timeline so your team has enough time to be excited about the project and generate great ideas. If your project team views the project as just one huge goal, it can be overwhelming and disheartening.
If you break down the project into smaller, more manageable tasks with due dates attached to each one, it will seem more doable, thus your team will be more productive, moving the project along on schedule.
7. QUIT BEING A PERFECTIONIST
A lot of people have very high standards. Seeking perfection can be good because it means that you appreciate quality, but the anxiety of failing to deliver something less than ideal can be paralyzing. You end up spending too much time on some minor details, and eventually, you don’t have time to work on the most important parts.
Try these two tips: First, break the task into many little steps, then focus on one part at the time. If you still put it off after breaking it down, then break it down even further into mini pieces. Soon, you’ll be left with such a simple task that you’ll be wondering what was keeping you from doing it from before!
The second tip is to give yourself the permission to do a draft version. Meaning, there’s no need to get it done right the first time. Creating a draft, even if it’s a crappy one, is better than if you didn’t do anything at all. Get started and things will roll on from there.
8. USE PRODUCTIVE SOFTWARE
Technology can have a significant impact on your ability to be productive and manage your time. By incorporating the right software into your stack, you’ll find it a lot easier to concentrate, manage your time and no longer feel like you’re trying to keep your head above the water.
Given the important role of time management for both people and businesses, unsurprisingly there are a number of software companies out there that build software to make peoples’ lives easier & more productive.
So, you should review some of the best software available to help you manage your time when working on a project.
9. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Tracking your progress helps you understand how you’re doing and gives you a target to reach. This makes it easier to keep up with your momentum.
Create a project sheet that records your targets and your current status. Specify your goals that you want to achieve. If your goal is to make logo, your KPIs will be your logos, type of logos, and perhaps your performance during making logos.
Then every week, review your progress. What % of your end goal have you achieved? Is it on track against your target? What is your target for the next week? Tracking makes you accountable to your goal and helps you to stay on track.
10. BLOCK OUT DISTRACTIONS
Even the most productive workers know that it takes time to build focus and a second to lose it. When you need to work for hours, staying concentrated on tasks is far from easy.
Sources of distractions:
Mobile phone and internet
Tips for avoiding distractions:
Focus on your main priorities first
Turn your mobile data off
Find ways to prepare your mind for work and control internal distractions (you can try meditating before work, for example)
Get away from things around you that make you distracted
No project is perfect. Variables and conditions change along the way, and as a project manager, you need to adapt accordingly and proactively. The best way to ensure your project fails is to not have a contingency plan for each phase and milestone. Be prepared. When people look at someone who’s really productive, it sometimes doesn’t seem like they’re working that hard. The point is that productive people know when to work and when to take a break.
Working 10 hours straight is alright, especially when you’re working hard for a goal, a dream, or even a deadline. But it’s hard for anyone to concentrate and produce high-quality work without giving themselves a chance to relax and take a break.
If it’s hard for you to stop working, I find it can help to schedule midday breaks away from a screen so that when you come back you’re really able to focus.
You need to take breaks if you want to be able to do great work.
Over to you – what’s your best practice for finishing projects faster & managing your time? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.