As a child of the millennial generation, I’m used to having my attention ripped in different directions. There are so many different ways to spend my time, but seemingly never enough of it to go around. Which is why I often find myself in the middle of multiple projects at once. However, my free time has shrunk disproportionately as compared with my to do list over the last few years and so I’ve come to consider myself somewhat of an expert at prioritizing and completing projects. So here are some tips for you, Dear Reader. Go forth and be productive!
Know Your Commitment
One of the most important things you can do is figure out exactly how much time you need to dedicate to a particular project before you start it. Is it a long term project to be done over several months/years or can it be completed in a few hours? Starting something you don’t have time to finish is, in my opinion, more likely to make you feel bad than putting the project away as something to work on later. Knowing how much time is involved can help you prioritize and sort out whether or not now is a good time to start a particular endeavor.
If you’re like me, than you’re what I like to call a “lazy planner.” I know exactly how to do what it is that I want to do, every step of the way, but sometimes I just can’t find the motivation to actually do it. Getting ahead helps me follow through on my projects, even on the days when I’m too lazy. In fact, I’m doing it right now. I’m writing this blog post in preparation for a stockpile that I’m creating now, while I have the motivation, for those occasions when I just don’t. That way the project won’t suffer for my lazy behavior.
A lot of the time, people aren’t realistic about their projects and they take on too much too quickly. I see it all the time, especially with Goodreads Challenges. People will go ahead at the beginning of the year and set themselves an unrealistic number of books to read instead of taking into account what they can actually manage in the normal course of their life. When starting projects, take into account what you can realistically expect from yourself. Because while your project may in fact be something that you really love, like reading, it shouldn’t become a burden on your life. Know what you can handle and be okay with that.
Understand Your Reason
Whenever you take on a project you should always understand why you’re doing it. Your motivation can have a huge impact on your productivity and on the quality of your work. If you’re starting up a YouTube channel in order to become famous and make a lot of money, than I wish you good luck. It’s not impossible, obviously, but the types of videos and quality of work you need to produce in order to beat the site’s analytics game don’t always correlate. It may be years of hard work before you catch a lucky break. But if you’re starting the channel for yourself, then all the hard work will pay off as a portfolio of videos that you’re proud of, no matter how small your audience or how long it takes to reach your goal. I want to be clear here, though. Neither of those reasons is a “bad” reason. I just know from personal experience that being honest about your intentions, whatever they may be, can have a huge impact on how dedicated you are to a project.
There’s a reason your teachers drilled the words “time management” into your head all throughout high school and college. It is one of the most important skills that you can learn as a younger person to benefit you later in life. Managing your time allows you to set it aside for different purposes and make the most of the little bit that you have. If you’ve determined (as a result of tip number one) that your project is going to take about an hour a week, then set aside that time and stick to it! Believe me, I know how tempting it is to just hit “Next Episode” after a long day at work, but imagine how good you’ll feel after you’ve finished your project! If you manage your time effectively, then you’ll be able to look back at the time you spent working with pride instead of wondering how you lost a whole weekend to Netflix.
Have any other good tips for finishing projects? Share them in the comments below!