How To Plan A Project & Break It Down Into Small Actionable Steps

Knowing how to plan a project and break down a big task into small actionable steps does not have to be as hard as it seems. It is easy to look at this big project that needs to be done and throw your hands in the air because it overwhelmed you.

Not after today. You are going to be able to take on any project and set a plan to get it done with no fear or hesitation. Because you know the steps to getting it done.

Make Sure The Time Is Right

Before you jump into your project, you need to do a few things first. Figure out every little detail do so you can set an accurate timeline to have a project done and choose the right time to do it.

Painting my house and remodeling the living room (which is in the works) in November when we are getting into the holiday season would be DUMB!!!! Even if no one is coming over I don’t need that kind of chaos in my life during the busiest time of the year.

Decide on the right timing to work on the project. Building a swing set in October in the northern states is not the best idea because one, the weather is unpredictable, the cold is no fun to be building in and when you get it done no one will want to be outside to use it. Waiting until spring would make more sense.

Woman planning her week writing in a bullet journal

Write Out Every Detail

I don’t care how small it is. If you need to look up a how-to video to get some tech help I want you to list that out. If you need to choose a paint color, look up inspirational ideas, or choose the type of paper your invitations need to be printed on… WRITE IT DOWN.

Here is what a list should look like if you are planning on painting a room.

  • Look up color inspo on Pinterest or your favorite home decor blog.
  • Go to the store to get color swatches and bring them home to see if you like them in your home.
  • Check to see what painting supplies you have such as drop cloths, brushes, painters tape, ext.
  • Make a list of the supplies you need.
  • Buy the supplies you need.
  • Choose the best day to start the project.
  • Clear out the room or cover everything to protect it from paint.
  • Tape up the room.
  • Prime the room (if needed)
  • Trim with the new color.
  • Roller on the new color.
  • Check if a second coat of paint is needed.
  • Take down the painter’s tape.
  • Put the room back together.

Ok, so that list is pretty long for what seems like a basic task. But if you have this list made out it gives you are clear visual about what needs to be done and a realistic view of how long it could take.

How To Plan A Project By Setting Realistic Dates

There are two ways you can set dates for a project. But before you pick some random date out of the sky. Look at your schedule. What commitments do you have that you can not skip? What hours to do work? What appointments do you have?

Before you schedule each of these tasks in your calendar. Block off everything that will take your time away from completing your project. Once you have written down every single detail down you can now go back through and add due dates to each task for your project.

If you do have a choice (which is best) then give yourself ample time to get the projects done. Some of those small pieces of the project take less time than others. Make sure to account for the time each task will talk.

Sometimes you don’t have a choice for when something needs to be done. In that case, you need to look at the time between the due date and the current date. Then schedule out each little task of the project accordingly.

year at a glance page in a pink planner and gold pen.

Think About The Order

Lets use building a swing set as an example.

You shouldn’t go to the store and buy wood, screws, and some brackets. Then come home and draw up some planes and start building in the driveway.

You will be going back to the store because you don’t have enough 4X4s and you bought screws that are way too long and stick out the other end of the wood. Then once you finally get it built you just built the whole thing in your driveway but you can’t fit the swing set in the space you intended.

See where I am going with that? Put the tasks in order of when they should be done before you set the dates for completion.

How To Plan A Project And Be Happy With The Progress

Be happy with what you got done. Don’t feel like you have to keep working on your project for 8 hours a day unless you want to.  Having a plan should make you feel good about where you are in the process of your project so you can actually enjoy your time off. Use your plan to show yourself that you are right on schedule and it is ok to take time off from your project.

It is hard to rest when you are a natural go-getter. It takes practice to be able to relax while you are in the middle of a project if it is something you really want to do. But you can do it. Work to build the life you want but plan well so you get to enjoy it.

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