How To: Start and Finish Projects

How To: Start and Finish Projects

Beth Zeigler
Feb 5, 2009


A typical seven day week goes by pretty quick for us. We're in a band, we blog for AT and we run our own business (which means networking, client time, bookkeeping, etc.). Not to mention the friends we keep tabs on, a boyfriend to hang out with and a cat to love. Then add to the mix the start of a new house project and all bets are off. Here's how we manage to get er done after the jump.

  • Just Say No. If you're anything like us, you like to stay busy. Movie with friends--count us in! Dinner date with another couple--yes please. Afternoon at the Grove, sure! Because we like to fill our dance card it leaves us little time to accomplish our own home projects. Most of the time, we don't even realize that we've planned away our weekend until Sunday evening. It's only then that we ask ourselves--where did the time go (and what happened to making new drapes, mopping the floor or cleaning out the microwave)? Since our life has become busier over the past year, we're still setting time management boundaries. Take for instance, AT's February Jumpstart. Because we have a green side table that we would like to transform by the end of the month, we had to say no to going out with the girls this Saturday.
  • It helps to print out a schedule.We keep appointments and events in our phone and sync with our computer but at the beginning of the month, we like to print out a paper calendar. That gives us the opportunity to view the entire month at a glance and helps us determine if there might be scheduling conflicts. Because most of our February weekends are booked, we knew we had to say no to this upcoming Saturday outing. Printing and studying our schedule for the upcoming month lets us know how to plan.
  • Write down deadlines and goals (and break them down into smaller projects). If you've got write a project proposal and it's due in two weeks, jot down all the things that need to happen in order for you to complete the project (and the time it takes to accomplish those tasks). Then insert the project deadline in your calendar and insert the tasks into your schedule. If you realize you won't have time to do some of the tasks (which will delay the project) it's time to cut some events out of your schedule. For us, it helps to think of time as an object. It's frustrating to have more items than you can store and the same goes for time. If you try and fit too much into your schedule, you run the risk of not completing your goals.

Do you have a hard time saying no to friends or helping out at an event at work? How do you say no?

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