Break it down now and you’ll get it done later

I just finished an office reorganization.

I started the reorganization because I had overflowed items from my office into my guest and master bedroom.

These mainly were items that I wanted off my desk or didn’t have a home for, so I moved them out of the way and into other rooms.

I was tired of having things all over the place and moving them when guests were using the guest bedroom.

So, I decided to tackle the project of reorganizing my office, pulling those things out of the places they didn’t belong, and finding everything a new home in my office.

So, I broke it down into pieces, very, very small pieces.

This is what my to-do list for this project initially looked like:

I knew I wanted to sort items into boxes to help figure out what needed to go where. So you see the categories like pens, pencils, post-it notes, paper and binder clips, a box for small items, and a box for larger items.

And you can see I allowed myself 2 hours to sort through the things from my master bedroom and 3 hours for the guest bedroom. While I purposely guestimated more time than I needed, I was very surprised to find I drastically overestimated the time required to sort those items.

Sorting the items from the master bedroom took me 20 minutes, and the guest bedroom items took me 40 minutes.

It seemed like such a huge task to sort those items! I was sure it was going to take a while.

That’s why I broke it down, so that it didn’t feel like a huge, overwhelming project that had to be completed immediately. Instead, I could just focus on one small task at a time.

Once I sorted my closet, desk, and other randomly placed items into my boxes, my office looked like this:

As you can see, I had a rather large mess lot of items to put away again. I did wonder what I got myself into, but I took a breath and tackled one part at a time.

Putting everything away did take longer than I anticipated, but I had the project started. It felt doable because I broke it down into working a couple of hours here and an hour there.

It looked like this:

And finally this:

But what does this have to do with you?

A project is anything that takes more than 1 step to complete.

Break every project into smaller, manageable steps.

For me, sorting through items in 20-minute increments made it very doable and easy to get started. I felt like I was making progress.

Again, break your projects and goals down into smaller steps.

And, if I wasn’t the type of person that could organize my office like that, I could hire someone to help me out. There are many very talented professional organizers out there that could have come in and helped me sort through everything and ensure the project was finished and done well.

If you need help figuring out how to break a project into smaller steps, hire someone to help you with that.

A project like “cleanup/organize office” feels enormous and unmanageable, but “do this 20-minute step” is much more doable, and you can wrap your head around it.

Everyone’s situation is different, so if you want some help in this area, reach out, and let’s talk.

"Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings." - CD Jackson

Great ideas need…

Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings.

– CD Jackson

Ideas are so fun!

Sometimes making them real is less fun.

Landing gear is that frustrating bit where you figure out, decide, and commit to what needs to happen to let your great idea fly (or not crash land in a ball of fire).

When you get those steps laid out (create the landing gear), it feels like most of the work is done!

All that’s left is following the steps (or landing your plan).

pink highlighter checking off to-do boxes with text over the image that says "If something had to give this week, what would it be? Or, does everything that you want to get done this week have to get done? Does that result in frustration because you have important projects or tasks that don't get completed every week? After all, unexpected things come up (good and bad) and things take longer than you thought they would. Which means other things don't get done."

Does everything that you want to get done this week have to get done?

If something had to give this week, what would it be?

Or, does everything that you want to get done this week have to get done?

Does that result in frustration because you have important projects or tasks that don’t get completed every week?

After all, unexpected things come up (good and bad) and things take longer than you thought they would. Which means other things don’t get done.

But how do you prepare for things you can’t plan for?

Let me share a little about how I plan things.

I have a list of tasks to be completed each month (you can read more about it here), and I assign these tasks to a week each month.

For example, I schedule most of my social media a month at a time. So, it doesn’t HAVE to be done until the last week of the month, but if I don’t get to it for some reason, then the first week of the following month won’t have posts until I’m able to get to it.

To prevent this, I schedule creating my social media posts for the third week of the month instead of the last week. This way, if I don’t get to it for some reason, I can do it the following week with few issues.

I called it a “Controlled Failure Point.”

The idea of a controlled failure point is to have points of failure that cause minimal ripple effects. 

In my social media post example, if something needs to give on the third week of the month, that can be it, and the only repercussion is it’s a higher priority task the following week.

It might feel wrong to plan for things to go a bit off the rails, but this is how you prepare for the things you can’t plan for.

You have nothing to lose and sanity to gain.

If you’re wondering what your “Controlled Failure Point” might look like, ask a question in the comments below.

Type writer with piece of paper that says "Goals." Over top of the image is the text "How do you make sure all the projects and goals that you want to achieve get done?"

How do you make sure all the projects and goals that you want to achieve get done?

How do you make sure all the projects and goals that you want to achieve get done?

This is a question I was recently asked by someone who is ambitious but lacks infinite time.

Okay, so we all lack infinite time.

She has multiple ideas and projects that she wants to do this year. She wants to move forward with all of them now. But she knows if she does that, it might be too much for her audience at once (not to mention her).

This is where a marketing calendar comes in.

Start by looking at your goals for 2021 and then make a list of all the projects you want to do, events you want to host/create, and things you want to promote​​​​, and put them on your marketing calendar.

It doesn’t have to be super detailed, you can make it simple.

Next, think about how long each idea/project/goal needs for prep time, promo time, and delivery time.

​​Not everything ​​​​has every category. 

For example, you might decide that you’re spending one week in March to promote your already created freebie. There is prep for that (writing the promotional social media posts and scheduling them). There’s the time you’re promoting it and staying engaged with those posts, but there isn’t any delivery time because that’s automated.

While you’re​​ promoting the freebie, you can work on the prep for a project you’ll be promoting in April.

I walked my Next Level Business Mastermind clients through this process during our 2021 Planning retreat. 

Creating a marketing calendar helped them know what to expect in the upcoming year.

It also prevents finishing up one project and then quickly trying to determine what you want to do next so you can get it prepared and out there. 

Instead, they know what is on their agenda for the year, and ​what needs to be done in the background while promoting something else.

Do you use a marketing calendar? Why or why not?

Text on picture of woman working at desk: 6 tips to complete the goal pushes against your comfort zone

6 tips to complete the project or goal that feels uncomfortable and pushes against your comfort zone

Last week I shared that I broke my habit of running around trying new projects and things that didn’t work by focusing on a project that forced me to learn and exercise a critical business skill that I lacked.

Working on that project was uncomfortable, pushed against my comfort zone hard, didn’t come naturally to me, and I wasn’t always motivated to keep going.

And yet I did, and the project was a success in the areas I needed it to be.

So, how did I do it?

The truth is there wasn’t just one thing that allowed me to complete this project. It was a combination of things.

Below I’ll share what I believe were the most significant contributors to completing the project.

My future success depended on me learning this skill.

While I wasn’t motivated to do this project specifically, I knew that not doing the project would mean I’d continue to have crappy results in my business. Basically, this skill was so important I knew that all my future success would be built on what I learned through this project. Not doing this project would mean my business would not move forward.

I was clear about my deadlines.

Because the project was uncomfortable and pushed against my comfort zone, it was super important to be very clear about what needed to be done and when. This allowed me to put on blinders to the larger project and only focus on the specific task in front of me.

Knowing that I wanted to start sending invites x days before the project began meant those deadlines weren’t moveable. Once I sent the first invites out, I was now committed to the date. It was out there.

I spread the work out over time.

I also made sure that the work was getting done, but was spread out. This allowed me to keep my energy up. I generally have more energy and attention in the morning, so I made sure those uncomfortable tasks came first.

I regularly reviewed my progress.

I gave myself time to review what worked and didn’t and adjust. Because the skill I was learning didn’t come naturally to me, I paid attention when something felt more in line with me (more down my alley, more me) and made a note of it to repeat later.

I had clearly defined tasks.

I was very clear about the tasks that needed to be completed. My task wasn’t to “invite people.” The tasks were to “make a list of at least 25 people that I think will benefit from this” and “personally invite that list of people via a phone call.”

It helped to focus on today’s task (or tasks) for the project. And because I spread the work out, I usually only had one 30-minute to 1-hour block of this to do each day. Once it was done, I could move on to tasks that felt much easier.

The bonus was how great it felt to have the task done and be able to move on.

I remembered my bigger goal when things felt hard (my why).

When things felt difficult, I’d take a deep breath and remember what I saw on the other side of this project. I’d remind myself why it was important to do this.

This sounds a bit like my first reason above, but this one is a bit deeper. The first one, my future successes depended on me learning this skill, is more of a nuts and bolts reason.

This reason is more of a mindset shift. It was about reminding myself that I could do these hard things and why it was important to step into being a person who did this hard thing and what that would do for me.

Again, it wasn’t just one of the above reasons that allowed me to complete the project that, on some levels, I did not want to do. It was the above reasons together that made the difference.

I’ve read multiple places that what makes a goal successful isn’t just about remembering why it’s important to you. It’s about putting the systems in place that support the work of doing hard things—remembering your why is one crucial part of that.

What questions do you have around doing projects in your business that feel uncomfortable or push against your comfort zone? Or share your experiences with this. Let me know in the comments.