4 Steps to Drive Your Projects Home Efficiently

Both professionally and personally, I have managed quite a few projects of various sizes and levels of complexity. Out of necessity (and interest), I invested many hours investigating the essentials on pushing projects forward—as efficiently as possible.

I don’t want to pretend I’ve figured everything out, but one thing that stands out to me is: pushing projects forward efficiently requires getting things done efficiently. This may seem simple, but I’ve seen so many projects linger for years when they could have been completed in months, had the stakeholders understood this simple fact: it’s about getting things done.

Whether the project is creating a mobile application, writing a book, producing a Hollywood movie, building a house, or launching a rocket in space, in it’s simplest form, a project is a series of tasks that must get done to achieve a specific desired outcome. And to do this efficiently, there are 4 simple steps you can use.

This 4-step process can be used at the onset of a project as well as during the various phases of a project (usually for larger projects that require multiple phases, where each phase can be considered a separate project).

Step 1: Define What Needs to Get Done

To avoid moving in all directions like a kid who ate too much candy, clearly define your desired outcome: the result you’re seeking to reach. Strive to make your desired outcome as clear as possible. This step helps you identify what needs to get done. Out of all the things you can do, what is (are) the most important thing(s) that must get done (now)?

Step 2: Devise an Action Plan to Get it Done

Once you know what must get done, devise an action plan to get it done. Break main tasks down in sub-tasks, determine the resources you’ll need, establish the deadlines you should abide by. When you develop the action plan, it is wise to leave a little bit of margin in your plan to account for unforeseen events. Projects usually take longer and cost more than expected, and it’s a good practice to factor that in your planning.

Step 3: Decide Who Is Going to Get it Done

Now, someone has to do the work. Someone (or a group) has to take the plan and run with it. The fanciest action plan is no better than a rag to sweep the floor until the plan is implemented. Who is going to carry the various tasks that must get done? Even in small, personal projects, you don’t have to be the one who tackles everything. For example, if your project is to clean your garage, you may delegate the organization of your tool box to your daughter.

Step 4: Do the Work to Get it Done (and Make Sure Others Get Their Work Done)

To move projects efficiently, the name of the game is crossing things off the list. That’s it. When something is assigned to you, get it done. When something is assigned to someone else, make sure it gets done. No procrastination. No waiting for the last minute. Get. It. Done. When you (or someone else) wait for the last minute, you don’t have the margin necessary to deal with the unforeseen events that always show their ugly face. Procrastination is responsible for many delays in the realization of projects. Don’t contribute to this; get your tasks done.

At the most basic level, that’s all there is to driving your projects home efficiently: define what needs to get done, devise an action plan to get it done, decide who is going to get it done, and do the work to get it done.