When we begin a project with a specific goal in mind, we often find ourselves distracted.
It happens every day in every way.
The phone rings or someone text you for help.
Anything can and often does happen to break our concentration.
Focusing on the current project to satisfactory completion will enable you to move on to the next project, without that nagging realization that you
didn’t finish certain one.
Returning to a previous project in order to tweak or fix something is actually a waste of your time whereas, if you had been focused, you wouldn’t
have to “do” it again.
Isn’t it amazing how often it is that we have the time to do it again, but often don’t have the time to do it right the first time?
In order to stay focused, one should prepare an outline.
Preparing a written outline is a surefire way to stay focused on your project.
You can write different plans for separate projects, with several projects ongoing at the same time.
During some projects you may encounter “waiting times”, for any number of reasons.
Having different project outlines available will ensure that “waiting time” does not necessarily mean “wasted time”.
When writing an outline, it’s important to cover each aspect of your project, from start to finish.
Always ask and answer the Who, What, Where, When and How questions.
This may sound elementary, even redundant, but it works.
While preparing your outline, ideas will pop into your head.
The “what ifs”, and “could be’s” will enable you to see a great many
possibilities to incorporate into your project.
You may need to revisit some aspect of your outline.
It’s much easier and less costly to revise the plan, than to revise the project after beginning.
An outline will enable you to “see around corners”.
To look ahead and foresee possible problems.
It all comes from writing it down.
Most of us don’t plan to fail, but very often we fail to plan.
Your outline doesn’t need to be fancy.
Depending upon the intricacy of your project, a numbered or bulleted list may serve your purposes.
Of course, the more intricate your project, the more intricate your outline will become.
You can even incorporate check boxes, so that when those distractions come,
as they usually do, you’ll know exactly where you stopped.
Your outline should flow from beginning to end just as if you were actually working on the project.
This will help you keep the various phases in perspective.
These phase plans will become part of your overall plan.
For the purposes of building your outline, pretend you’re building a house.
The foundation would naturally come first, then the walls, finally the roof.
Your outline should follow this “building code”.
In other words, start with the basics: What, When, Where, Why and How, (the foundation).
Then move on to the tools, resources and knowledge, (the walls).
Next comes the finish (the roof).
The “outline” stage of your project is where you’ll do most of the learning required to reach a successful conclusion of your project.
What resources can you find to help you?
What resources do you have?
Where can you go?
Who can you see to gain the necessary know-how?
These questions and many more need answering before you can expect to be successful in your project.
When you write down and follow your plan, one step at a time, the project becomes less daunting.
The longest journey begins with one step.
When you write your outline and re-read it a few times, your memory will be “unlocked” and sometimes you’ll be amazed at what you already knew.
Now you’re ready to go back and flesh out your outline. (The landscaping and decorating.)
Take your time with the details; after all, quality is also part of your project.
Put together the details in such a way that they can be changed.
This is an outline, not a plan carved in stone.
You can make revisions, additions, deletions, substitutions and corrections.
It’s easier to make those changes now rather than later.
All an outline really does is give you a starting place.
If your project is fairly simple, maybe this is all you need to use as a guide to finish your project.
In any case, you now have that first step.