People often ask me why I have to write everything down. Well it's quite simple really: because if I don't, I am likely to forget it. In the age of technology and apps, it seems odd to need pen and paper but for me, it's the only way to stay productive in my projects.
Now I should probably clarify what I mean by projects. When I refer to projects in my life I am not talking about big picture, take over the world schemes (at least not for the most part). I project plan anything in my life that does not require immediate action. From remodeling to spring cleaning to even updating my wardrobe; everything is a project as it involves more than one step to complete.
So how do I stay on top of the steps and on track?
I found that for my purposes, a simple project planning sheet does the trick. I am currently living inside my Mode Book for all intents and purposes and have been using the project planning inserts that are provided in it to stay on top of all my actionable items. The sheets are useful because there is a section for a budget goal, dates, materials, steps and a very large grid portion for miscellaneous items.
Since not every project is the same, I find this layout works best for me as I can customize the plan for each project to fit the exact need of the tasks involved. For example, when putting together a cleaning project I might use the grid portion to list out the items I need to get rid of while in a remodeling project I would use that portion for drawings of space layout or even a mood board of how I'd want the space to look.
My steps for each project are quite simple:
1. Name the project
2. Finalize a date for finishing it (this can be a fluid date if things need to be pushed around to accommodate life)
3. Set a budget (not every project will involve a budget but for those that do it's good to note it at the beginning so you stay within your comfort limits)
4. If materials are to be purchased, I would note these down and then add them to my shopping list in my on-the-go planner
5. Take note of all the steps I need to take to complete my project and check in regularly to see where I am on the timeline
6. Then I plan out my grid section with whatever I feel works best for the project at hand
Prior to incorporating project planning into my life I felt I was always under pressure when it came to bigger tasks. I was either leaving everything to last minute completion (and nothing got done) or I would stretch it out so long that I forgot all about it (and again, nothing got done). Now I can proudly say that I set realistic goals and accomplish them in realistic timelines which in the end has been my main goal (or project) all along.
Good luck with all your projects!