If you run your own business and are actively trying to make as much of a success of it as possible – or even if you are just interested in achieving some interesting things in your free time – being able to effectively plan out your own projects can be a vitally important skill.
Of course, it can be quite difficult to even know where to start when it comes to setting yourself interesting and ambitious projects in the first place.
So, here are a handful of techniques that can help with planning your own projects when working from home.
Utilise mind maps to help you figure out which steps and connections are involved in a project
Mind maps are a great and creative approach for figuring out which steps and connections would be involved in achieving a particular project, even if you have just about no idea where to start at the outset.
Mind maps involve drawing out particular steps related to a project on a piece of paper and putting them in “bubbles” that are then connected to other bubbles to create associations, potential tasks and subtasks, and so on.
The great thing about mind maps is that they allow you to brainstorm well at the same time visually piecing together and uncovering the different components of a project in a way that can be easily remembered and used as the basis for moving forward.
Always prioritise having a “next step” to take action on
It’s not enough to just have an idea of the overarching goal you want to achieve with regards to any particular project.
Without more specific and small-scale actions to focus on, it’s often all too easy to completely lose perspective and to procrastinate indefinitely, or else to get totally sidetracked by analysis paralysis while trying to figure out where next to turn.
In order to really come up with a project that you can make headway on, it’s essential to always prioritise having a “next step” to take action on at any given point in time. This, for example, is a central tenet in David Allen’s famous Getting Things Done method.
The “next step” in question might be to get the best UPS international shipping rates, or it might be to phone up a particular contact and get the ball rolling.
One way or the other, make sure that you always have something to focus on.
Listen to your gut, and work on projects that actually make you feel enthusiastic
No project – no matter how good, sophisticated, or “smart” it may seem in theory – is ever going to be likely to work out, or to prove ultimately worthwhile, unless it is something that you feel genuinely enthusiastic about on some level.
When deciding which projects to set for yourself, it’s important to listen to your gut and to follow the lead of your own enthusiasm.
Hard work and tenacity are important, but using them to try and muscle through different projects that you find completely meaningless and uninteresting, is a good way to end up being bitter, miserable, and unproductive.