A Blank Piece of Paper

A Blank Piece of Paper

When you have a new project to delve into, you start with a blank piece of paper and a plan or idea that is nestled in your brain just waiting for action.  This could be a home project, a work project, or a very personal project.

So…what do you need to start?

  1.  Begin with the goal in mind.  What is it you are wanting to accomplish?  How complex is it?
  2. What time frame do want to accomplish it in?  Is it something that will just take a day or two or will it take weeks or months?
  3. Who else needs to be involved?  Do you need to gather information or input from other people?  Are their individuals who may be better at parts of the project than you who you can involve as helpers or advisors?
  4. Begin to write down the steps in the plan for your project or you can just jump in and then begin to formulate a more specific plan.
  5. What barriers will you run into?  Are you prepared to muscle through to the end goal?  What will you do to concentrate and stay focused on what needs to be accomplished?
  6. Who can you ask to keep you accountable or encourage you along the way? 
  7. How will you celebrate when it is done and the bow has been tied on the package?

Let’s begin with an example.  Suppose you need to analyze if you have stayed on your personal budget or not for the last quarter.  Here may be the steps that would work for that project.

  1.  The goal is to determine if you have stayed on budget or not.  Also, you want to know where there were deviations, if any, and how you can prevent them in the future.
  2. You would like to accomplish this task within a week’s time, 7 days.
  3. You may need to involve the keepers of the information you need – your spouse or partner, bank, credit card company, and other institutions.
  4. Some steps in the process may be:
    1. Gather spending information.
    1. Enter it into a spreadsheet.
    1. Compare it to your budget spreadsheet.
    1. Note where there are significant negative differences, e.g. 10% or more.
    1. Discuss with your partner.
    1. Determine an action plan.
    1. Implement action plan.
    1. Follow-through by checking back sooner, e.g. a month, instead of a quarter.
  5. You may have difficulty gathering some of the data if you haven’t kept good records.  You will need to think about how you can keep better records going forward.  If you have difficulty concentrating on the task at hand for long periods of time, block it out into 50-minute or 1-hour segments.
  6. If you are the spendthrift in your family, maybe you can ask a friend to talk to you about how you can pull back on your spending.  If your partner is the spendthrift, ask them to do the same thing.  It is probably not best to discuss this issue with your partner because they may be too critical.
  7. Celebrate by doing something for yourself that does not cost any money or is inexpensive – a day off to do nothing or whatever you want, a time alone with a book, a walk in a beautiful place, listening to music while driving with the top down, taking your child to the park, taking your family for that walk with you, exploring a destination place near you – a museum, a botanical garden, a downtown, etc.

Now, that you have this project under your belt, you can take out a blank piece of paper and begin your next one.  Enjoy the journey!