I have been working on a few time consuming projects lately. Projects I want to get done but don’t have much motivation or more than 30-60 minutes a day if that to devote to the project. Which isn’t ok but I have to work with what time I allow myself for the project. Yes I could drop everything and do the project but nothing else would get done and those things are also important. So one thing I do is break down the project into small pieces. But first we need a game plan.

The best thing to do is to write out a Scope of Work. The scope of work outlines each piece of the project. This is an important step as it will also help you think out your project and make it manageable. Often in this step you will realize you missed some important pieces that would cause some issues later on. Here is an example of a scope of work.

Project: Crackers with peanut butter snack

Objectives: Make crackers with peanut butter for a snack to eat.

Goal: To stop the hunger pangs.

Estimated time: 1:20

  1. Gather items needed: Peanut butter, crackers, plate, knife
  2. Open peanut butter and crackers.
  3. Put 10 crackers on the plate.
  4. Add a 1/2 table spoon of peanut butter to each cracker.
  5. Eat crackers with peanut butter.
  6. Wash plate and knife put in dish rack to dry.
  7. Put away the plate and knife.

Some of the steps might seem trivial but it allows you to break down the project into smaller steps to do. Then you can analyze each step and determine its own scope of work, resources needed and whether you want or can do the step.

You might determine you don’t have an hour and twenty minutes to spend on the project. But you do have 20 minutes a day that you could spend on each step and spread the time out over 7 days. Or you might realize that you are missing a resource such as the Peanut Butter Bot 2000, the one function appliance that applies peanut butter the crackers. Yes a knife could do it but there is the chance of breaking the cracker. Better leave it up to an expert machine or maybe an expert of some sort. Because of this realization you are going to hire out step 4. Now step 4 has become “Call Leeanne the Peanut Butter Queen to schedule an appointment.” Leeanne will come by that day and put peanut butter on any crackers you have on a plate.

Now 20 minutes a day isn’t all that bad and easy to do. The next step is actually just doing it or hiring someone to do it for you, which for me and a lot of people is the hardest part. In fact some one wrote a song about it! Procrastination by Alex Lewis (Slightly NSFW).

But if we procrastinate nothing gets done and there could actually be consequences for not finishing the project. If I don’t finish the crackers with peanut butter snack I will go hungry. If I go hungry I can’t do my work. If I can’t do my work I can’t pay my bills and buy food. Eventually I will die from not eating. Now that is some motivation to do the project.

Still that sort of motivation doesn’t help you get it done. There are two other things you need to do, the first is put it in your head that the project is important and that you need to devote some time to doing it. The next thing is to make the time to do today’s step. To do so you might need to change your schedule. Instead of checking your email right when you start working, you work on the project for 20 mins then check your email.

To go over it again, create a scope of work with clear objectives and goals. Make sure each step is broken down into small pieces. Analyze each step and determine its own scope of work, resources needed and whether you want or can do the step. Motivate yourself by seeing the end goal and making it a priority. And if that fails you can always hire some one to do it for all for you.