Have you ever noticed that some tasks on your to-do list get crossed off right away, making you feel like a productivity superstar? And other tasks … well, they tend to stay on the list and no matter how hard you try, you can’t get them to budge because:
And so they stubbornly stay put on your to-do list, mocking you, shaking your confidence as someone who gets stuff done.
Here’s the problem.
What you’re thinking is a task is really a project in disguise. People who are able to move mountains fast know the difference.
Let’s take a look at the two:
You see, a task is something that will take one or two steps to complete. You schedule a time to do it, you take action, and finito … it’s complete.
On the other hand, a project is something that’s much more complex. It may include:
No wonder it won’t budge.
So let’s take a different approach.
First, confirm this is a project and not a task. Ask yourself if any of these apply:
Now that it’s clear you’re dealing with a project, you need to start thinking like a project manager.
Projects are special, they get a time and action plan. This can be as simple as using a spreadsheet or a more sophisticated project-management app like Asana.
What is the intended outcome? Why? Who is requesting this project? What will make it a success? How will you measure success?
When does this project need to be completed? Is there any flexibility with that date? What are the consequences of not meeting that date?
How much will this cost? What happens if you go over budget? Who needs to approve the budget?
This is where the party starts!
Projects tend to be high-maintenance. They can be demanding, unrealistic and have a mind of their own. So a few things to keep in mind:
Completing your project should give you a reason to celebrate (or take a long nap). I’d celebrate and take a nap! Then look for the next project that may be hiding on your to-do list as a task. It will never trick you again.
Mimi Bishop is a productivity + time management expert and a certified life coach. To survive the days you’re just way too busy download 10 Ways to Take Back Your Time at www.mimibishop.com.