There is no shortage of tools, both physical and digital to help you plan projects and achieve your goals.
Complicated plans and tracking systems can leave you uninspired and unmotivated to take action.
And the very tool that was designed to help you plan your project quickly and efficiently has you spending more time managing the project than actually doing it.
There are three things you can do to ensure you don’t become trapped in a planning loop, no matter what tools you use.
3 Top Tips for Planning Success
To help you take action quickly and keep the momentum building I’m sharing the top three tips that I believe are the key to your project’s success.
Actually all three tips start with one word, simple.
1. Simple in Number
As creatives it’s so easy for us to have too many projects on the go at any one time and wonder why we’re not making the progress we’d like.
So how many to too many?
I’ve heard three is a good number, not too many to be overwhelmed and just enough for variety.
Of course this number will depend on you. Is it just you working on these? Or is it a family project or do you have a work team helping you?
Whatever your number, limiting how many projects you are working on at one time can help you focus and make progress much quicker.
In the past, when I’ve tried to work on a large number of unrelated projects, the progress was slow and I became uninspired faster than the progress I was making.
Being spread thin has you doing not much of anything well.
Before long I was out of steam and had little desire to go on. In comes shinny object syndrome to distract me and find yet another new expecting project toward on. Further compounding the problem of not seeing the progress I desperately wanted to make.
If your list of projects is long, group common projects together and prioritise the order so you can narrow your focus and see results.
2. Simple in Process
A couple of years ago I tried using a digital app for project management. It didn’t take long before I found myself spending more time than I wanted organising my project than what I was actually doing to move the project forward.
I’m sure that part of that was due to the user not the app. But what I did discover was that I preferred paper planning, especially to begin with.
Planning in my paper planner meant I could see all my ideas at once. At a glance I could see what the project entailed. Then I could either use a printable to track the project if it was just me working on it or use an app for my team.
The key here is, whenever possible simplify your process.
Know how you work best, what your needs are and decide on a solution that allows you to keep planning and tracking your project as simple as possible.
Check out my Projects Kit printables to brainstorm, plan and track the progress of your project. You can use these in your paper planner or digitally on your iPad. See this article on how to set up a digital planner.
3. Simple in Action
A complicated system of project planning and tracking only keeps you from taking real action. It’s a sneaky way of procrastinating. As creatives who love planning it’s easy to think that you’re working on your project but in reality you’re not making any real progress at all.
Be careful of this planning procrastination trap.
An easy way to avoid this trap is to use the principle from Stephen Covey’s book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, habit 2, Start with the end in mind.
Working backwards can help you make your list of actionable tasks.
Break down your project into small and specific tasks that you can do in 5-15 minutes. For extra ease, start each tasks with an action word.
In my printable FUSElife Planner + Projects Kits there are Action Plan pages that walk you through the steps of planning your project for success. By starting with why (also an amazing book by Simon Sinek) you’ll stay focused and be more easily able to avoid distractions + overcome obstacles.
And with your list of tasks to complete the project you’ll make the most of your time knowing exactly what to do.
Seeing the items get crossed off is highly motivating and each one gets you closer to the end goal of accomplishing your project.
With these three simple tips for project planning you’ll be completing your projects with more ease and focus.