In business, it can sometimes seem difficult, if not impossible to get it all done. This is especially apparent when you consider long-term projects that don’t have quick deadlines in sight. Whether it’s launching a new product and all that goes into setting it up, or building a new website, it can be a daunting task. And often these long-term tasks seem more challenging and aggravating because you can’t just check them off your to-do list and get immediate satisfaction. However, there are steps you can take to make it easier to stay on top of things and get more effective results. Here are some of our favorite tips for getting the job done and accomplishing more (even with those long-term projects).
- Set a deadline – This is important for all tasks, but especially important for those long-term tasks. You want to set a realistic deadline (the key word here being “realistic”). If you set the deadline too soon, you will feel stressed to complete it in time. If you set it too far out, it won’t get the attention it deserves. So review the project carefully and come up with a deadline that works. Then make sure all parties are in agreement with deadline you’ve set. It’s also a good idea to get the deadline in writing, as oftentimes there can be a dispute over a verbal deadline. Usually nothing intentional; just that some might have understood differently, so getting it in writing is advisable.
- Break the project down into manageable pieces – Seems obvious, but it’s important from day one to plan for the end of the project and break tasks down into exactly what needs to be done and when each task needs to be completed. By doing this, you’ll often realize that not only do you discover things you might have overlooked, but you also feel more in control of the project as a whole. For even greater efficiency, be sure to lump related tasks together whenever possible.
- Stick to the deadline you’ve created – Here is where you create a plan and a timeline for completion of the tasks you’ve just outlined. This helps keep tasks from being put on the back burner and not getting done. It also helps to set the deadlines as milestones, and have a to-do list with each task outlined. This helps you accomplish those mini-goals so you can check them off the list.
- Assign the tasks when necessary – Think about who the best person is to handle each task, but realize it doesn’t always have to be one person per task. For example, one might work on developing the copy for the sales page, while another actually has more technical skills and creates the page. Working together with each one doing what they do best makes for a more effective process, which leads to greater success. Once you are clear on who will be handling the different tasks, be sure to coordinate the timing. You’ll often find some tasks need to be completed before others get started, so there needs to be clear communication about the timelines.
- Plan for the unexpected – Murphy’s Law says “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong,” so it’s important to know and plan for it. Yes, many projects go off without a hitch, but more times than not, challenges arise. That’s why it is important to plan for these challenges ahead of time and have a Plan B. This can be as simple as just having someone else on the team who can help with certain tasks, or even making absolutely sure all the files are backed up and put in the shared work-space if someone else might need to jump in and assist. Planning ahead like this will help minimize and even alleviate the stress that often happens when a crisis occurs.
It’s easy to see how manageable even the larger tasks can be when they are broken down in pieces or phases. You can get more done and always meet those deadline when you approach your projects in this way. That’s one of the things our team members pride themselves on— always doing our best to meet each and every deadline, large or small. The team work and dedication to doing a great job is what sets us apart.