How to Start a Project

Here are Captain Time’s tips on how to start a project.

Step 1: Assign the Time #

Set aside time over the next few weeks that you will be working on the project. This makes sure the project doesn’t get pushed back or started late

Step 2: Clear the Decks! #

Before working on the project, clear both your physical and digital work spaces.

For the physical work space:

  • remove all paper and other items on your desk you don’t need to use to work on the project
  • if possible, have your phone calls held during the project time and sent to voice mail.

For your digital work space:

  • close all messaging programs (email, Skype, Slack and so on) – yes, ALL!!!
  • close ALL tabs on your browser except for a web page you might need to work on the project
  • close ALL programs and apps except the ones needed to work on the program
  • turn off your smart phone (yes, OFF – not even just on vibrate)

This will help give you the focus needed to succeed on your project.

Step 3: Plan The Steps #

Before you start working on the project, plan it out. I find mind mapping is an excellent way to brainstorm and plan a project.

mind map - how to start a project

The planning also helps you to break the project down into bite sized chunks so it it less overwhelming. During the planning you also want to come up with all the steps or tasks  you need to complete the project.

Step 4: Add Tasks to Task Management System #

The next step is to add all the tasks into your task management system or todo list. Don’t have a task management system? A great free one to start with is Trello. If you are looking for a more powerful solution, I use Teamwork Projects personally and can help you with the set up and use of either of these systems.

When adding your tasks, make sure you put them in priority sequence and include:

  • priority level (low, medium, high)
  • due dates
  • who it is assigned to

If you do these kind of projects often, consider setting up checklists or task templates to make the next, similar project go faster.

Step 5: Delegate First #

You want to delegate ALL the tasks that involve others first before you start work on your own tasks. This way, you team is working for you while you are doing other things. If you don’t delegate first, YOU become the bottleneck to progress.

Step 6: Then Work #

After you have delegated everything you can, then you start working on the highest priority (non-delegable) task until complete. Then on to the next task and so on.

Step 7: Keep The Time Assignment Weekly #

Make sure you keep the time block set aside for the project every week. You will be surprised how fast you get through the project when you have focused time set aside for it.

Following these “how to start a project” steps will help you launch a new project more easily with a greater chance of success.

Looking for more time help? Visit our time management online school.

Take control of your time – you will be much happer!

– Garland Coulson, “Captain Time”

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