How To Actually Get a Project Done Before Summer Ends

published Sep 4, 2016
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(Image credit: Erin Francois)

With just a few weeks until the official end of summer, the clock is ticking on your summer bucket list. If your list includes getting some projects done around the house, consider this your how-to guide on finally get them done. Whether you’re embarking on a complete remodel, doing some necessary home maintenance, or just want to get your hands messy with a fun DIY decor project, we’re simplifying the process with the help of productivity guru David Allen’s Getting Things Done method. Grab a pen and paper and let’s get to work!

1. Determine What Done Means

According to Allen, the first step in getting a project done is taking the time to actually define what done means. In other words, what is the end result you’re trying to reach? Be very specific about what you want the outcome to look like and write it down. This simple step will instantly bring clarity and focus to a project.

2. Create a Master Project Task List

Now that you know what done means, the next step is deciding what doing looks like. Ask yourself, what are the next actions I need to take to move this project forward towards completion? Basically, you’re breaking up this big, daunting project into small, manageable baby steps.

Having a pre-determined list of actions is the secret sauce of Allen’s productivity method because often the reason we don’t move forward with projects is not because we don’t have enough time, but because we haven’t decided what actions need to be taken. Seeing “remodel kitchen” on your to-do list is overwhelming, so instead just focus on the next action like “call contractor for an estimate”—that’s much more manageable, and you’re more likely to actually get it done. Put this master task list some place you know you’ll check often, such as your planner or the notes app on your phone.

3. Get to Work

Once you have your master project task list written down, it’s time to get to work. Take a look at your schedule for the upcoming weeks and find little windows of time where you can cross project items off your list. If it helps, give yourself a deadline for the project and remember to check your master list regularly to make sure you’re on track to accomplish your goal on time.