Episode 025: Fear Hides When You Have a Killer Project Plan [podcast]

Have you ever started a project and not finished it? To design your future, you need a plan. 12 steps to planning for success.

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On This Episode

Rhythm of Life – Schizophrenic Project Planning
Tune-up Tip – How To Talk To Your Doctor
Random Riffs – Headline News – With a Twist
Feature Segment – The Life Design Project Plan

Rhythm of Life – Schizophrenic Project Management

I’ve told you before that I am an organized creative; both left and right brain thinking.  It’s one of my key strengths. Sometimes it allows me to take advantage of the best of both worlds. Be creative when needed, and practical when needed.

But sometimes it pits two parts of my nature against each other. Left brain vs. right brain: the final showdown. I see the challenge at times when I’m required to have vision and execute, but also plan the details. This is where gaps sneak in, between the cracks of my creative vs. analytical mind. Frankly, my brain hurts from the battle.

What I’ve learned is that battling with ourselves is tiring and gets in the way of progress. Instead, analyze the situation and find a way to reconcile yourself. Bring the best out of yourself; develop intentionally.

Share a story of your own by leaving a comment below or Facebook.

Tune-up Tip – How to talk to your doctor

What do you do when you’re not in tune? You go to the doctor. But do you prepare yourself for a constructive dialogue when health conversations arise?

Despite years of education, and their best intentions, doctors may not always provide you with the best medical recommendation the first time around, or for your situation. You need to be active in the conversation and in the decision-making. Sage advice tells us to:

  • Choose doctors carefully
  • Do your homework about your condition and possible treatments
  • Ask about alternative treatments or drugs
  • Consider obtaining another opinion
  • Align your options with your life choices, goals and values

Health isn’t something to mess with. Give it the attention it deserves.

Random Riffs – Headline News – With a Twist

A quick perusal of your Sunday paper will provide you a variety of news topics; a bit of something for everyone.

Have you ever tried to find a theme running through all of them? Or constructing a story to these unrelated items? Perhaps on a rainy day, you’ll get your creative, and humorous, juices flowing and do just that.

And you thought the newspaper was boring!

Feature Segment – Life Design Project Planning

In Episode 024, we talked about getting started in designing your future. Perhaps you now have the start of an idea or vision for that future. Now what?

Our old self might keep at it in hopes that one day we reach that vision. Or, we might give up and continue to keep doing what we’ve always done because anything different feels like too much of a leap.

Or…we could turn it into a project.

A project is meant to accomplish a defined goal. It has a beginning and an end. Project management is the discipline of carefully projecting or planning, organizing, motivating and controlling resources to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria. By treating your effort as a project, you go from a huge leap of faith to planning and executing small steps.

There are various techniques, tools, and processes for effective project management. The techniques for huge work projects would differ from those for personal change. The core principles may be the same, but tactics differ.

PM cycleAll projects require coordination. You build a plan and execute step by step. Put pieces together to form whole. In our own lives, if you make steps small enough, the whole is not as scary. Adapt the framework to fit your situation, but follow these 12 steps:

  1. Define Success – a critical step. What does success look like? What is your end state vision?
  2. Cost-scope-timeline triad – what will it cost you? What’s in and what’s not? What is your perceived end date? Maintain balance among the three.
  3. Define work categories (what you have to do) and Segments (stages or phases)
  4. Estimate time and cost for each piece – target start and completion dates; resources needed.
  5. Assess the Cost-Scope-Timeline triad – do they line up? What do I need to adjust to make them align?      The rest of the steps are where the art and magic come in; where the project goes from an overwhelming chaotic mess to a series of manageable activities.
  6. Prioritize the work – by order, by easiest or smallest, by delivery, by any other criteria you’ve deemed important.
  7. Break the first group of work into smaller segments. This will help reduce the feeling of overwhelming; will make the project feel smaller.
  8. Prioritize segments – what has dependencies, or what can you finish fastest and easiest so you gain momentum and keep moving forward.
  9. Detail one work segment – list all the steps so you don’t miss anything. Make each step something you can complete in a time box on your calendar.
  10. Schedule work on your calendar – so that you are intentional about setting time aside for your project, and ultimately YOU. Schedule as “this week” and “following weeks” activities or milestones so that you keep your immediate tasks at hand, as well as your end-state vision.
  11. Do the work – Focus on one thing and do not move on until it is complete.
  12. Adjust calendar as needed – reassess progress. Go back to Cost-Scope-Timeline triad and adjust as needed.

Some final words of wisdom from someone who has spent years working in project management, and more recently on my personal growth projects:

  1. Resistance/Fear – Learn to calm the lizard brain so it isn’t in control. Breaking things down into small bites helps. If still struggling, go back and listen to podcast Episode #021 –6 Simple Techniques for Living in the Present Moment.  You can also participate in our 30 Day Beauty in EVERYday Challenge
  2. Be prepared to adjust – Nothing ever goes exactly as planned. Only question is what will have to change and by how much.
  3. Don’t go it alone – ask people to help you, even if just for emotional support. Join our 30 Day Beauty in EVERYday Challenge Facebook group and you’ll see what I mean.
  4. Enjoy the work for its own sake – If all you want is the goal and hate the work, you’ll be nothing but frustrated. Find joy and satisfaction in the work.
  5. Celebrate interim milestones – don’t wait until the end.

You can do this. Once you have a vision and a plan. Each small step will feel like nothing, and you’ll be amazed when you look back at how much you’ve accomplished.

Ready? Set? Go!

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