Recently I posted about turning dreams into reality by creating action plans.
The key to creating an action plan that works is to chunk down your dream into small, manageable bits – things you can get done in an hour or so, or even less – even 10 minutes spent on a project every day will eventually get the project done.
For example, if you want to write a book on getting a book written say, the action plan might start like this:
- Create a physical file folder for the book
- Create a desktop folder for the book
- Open a Word file and save it in the new folder under the working title of your book
- Create a vision for your book
- Write a 10 word purpose for your book
- Develop a working table of contents
And so forth. But notice, steps 4, 5, and 6 could be broken down even further.
The answer to overwhelm is baby steps
One signal you need to break the project down even more is any sense that you don’t know what to do next or any feeling of overwhelm.
A book is a huge huge project. It’s so much easier not to write one just because it is so big. Breaking it down into even tiny baby steps will put you in a position to actually work on it bit by bit by bit until you actually get it done.
In this example you might want to schedule say 10 minutes a day on your Vision or Purpose or Working Table of Contents until you get each one done.
Or you might want to break them into things like Vision rough draft, re-read draft, edit draft, let it sit 48 hours, re-read, edit, read out loud, etc. etc. etc.
The goal is to get the steps down to something manageable for you. And it’s important they be steps you can take comfortably. Don’t worry about the size of the steps I might take or some other person might take. Ignore any thoughts that you should finish sooner or find it easier or anything else like that. This is your dream, your plan and your action steps.
Baby steps work on smaller projects too
Chunking down smaller projects, like queries, articles, looking for gigs works well too.
The steps for a query might look like this:
- target magazine
- read the magazine
- study the ads
- draft the query
- confirm the editor’;s name
- re-read the query and so forth until you’ve actually submitted it.
You get the idea.
Each of the baby steps can easily be plugged into your calendar or other way you keep track of what you need to do.
It also helps if you find a way to reward yourself for each step… an extra cup of tea, a short walk, a phone call to a friend… something that helps you celebrate your progress.
Each baby step really is progress and moves you closer to your goal with reasonable serenity.
How do you manage projects?