Beating project deadlines is an essential part of keeping stress down and delivering excellent work. It doesn't matter what types of projects you work on, if you can beat a deadline you'll be in high demand. Here's how to do it.
The fastest killer of a deadline is overestimating what you can do and how fast you can do it. Always work in a cushion to your deadlines just in case something happens; that way, you can avoid stress when reaching deadlines.
Once you set a deadline, tell yourself it is set in stone, and you must meet it or beat it. Since you put in a cushion before setting the deadline, that means that you should be able to get done before the deadline if all goes as planned.
Part of setting deadlines is learning to plan and organize efficiently. Set up a system of organization that you do for every project. Having systems in place eliminates the problem of forgetting any aspect of your project.
No one can do anything online without a calendar. Today online calendars can sync with your smartphones so that there is no reason to forget anything. Train yourself to look at your schedule every evening and every morning so that you avoid forgetting anything. Do not rely on memory.
If you work with others, such as vendors or service providers, you must communicate deadlines to them in a way that they understand the importance of the deadlines.
If you are not sure where to start, and you can identify items that independent of other things being completed, then you can begin to complete them. Sometimes just getting something done can unleash more creativity.
Break up all the work into small, bite-sized pieces that you can do a little at a time that will ensure that you meet your deadlines. Setting shorter deadlines throughout the project will also help.
Write down what must be done to constitute a final deliverable on your project, then work backward to today assigning yourself and others tasks that will ensure the project is done on time.
The first thing you should do for any project is to make plans ahead of time to get the things done that need to be done. They say that failing to plan is planning to fail, and nothing can be more accurate than when it comes to project management.
Never forget that you don't have to do everything yourself. Outsourcing aspects of any project will help you focus on what you do best.
If you want to beat deadlines, it requires organization, planning, and dedication to be self-disciplined enough to follow the plan you created for yourself to meet your goals. It all starts, of course, with that realistic deadline, and advanced planning. A good project management system doesn't hurt either.
Project management can help you with many everyday and long-term tasks and projects. But, like with most things, how you do project management can be improved. One way to improve anything that you do is through evaluation.
The definition of project planning, according to Wikipedia, is, “… the process and activity of planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling resources, procedures, and protocols to achieve specific goals…”
When you read the above definition, one of the things that stick out is the idea that project management is about “controlling resources, procedures, and protocols.” The only way you can be sure that you are doing so is by evaluation. Therefore, part of your project management set-up should be all about evaluating whether or not the way you’re managing projects is working. You know they are working if you’re meeting or beating deadlines, and finishing projects successfully under budget.
To determine these facts, you’ll need to:
When you evaluate, you consider all aspects of inputs with desired outputs to determine if goals were achieved and why you can improve the next project.
The project was delivered on time but with considerable stress and over budget. You earned less than you thought you would because your bid was lower than it should have been.
Project proposal compared to project deliverable. How much difference is there between the two? Did you allow scope creep to take over? Also, which areas of the project were over budget? Assuming deliverables and proposals matched, did you miscalculate the amount of time it would take you to accomplish specific tasks? If you miscalculated your time commitment, why? Did you read the entire proposal carefully before giving your bid?
As you evaluate each step of your project management procedures, try to identify what can be accomplished easier, better, with less time, and less stress. A straightforward fix for avoiding scope creep is to ensure that when the client sends you a change, you add it to the contract and send the contract with a new bid to the client each time. If you make that a habit, you’re not likely to have too many issues with scope creep.
If you are having issues with underbidding due to a miscalculation on the amount of time it will take you to do, why are you doing that? Are you overestimating your abilities in some way? Are you allowing your need for money to cloud your judgment when bidding on proposals? Only a complete evaluation of each project after completion will help you determine these answers. No matter how successful you perceive any one project, an evaluation should be completed to help you improve.
If your marketing efforts don’t match your business plan, you’re going to run into trouble. As you create your marketing plan, it’s essential to refer to your business plan to ensure that you are living up to your vision, mission, goals, and objectives.
Your business plan should include the overall strategy for your business. This consists of all aspects of finances, markets, sales, products, services, operations, and marketing. Your marketing plan takes the marketing portion a step further. It outlines precisely your strategy to penetrate social media, content marketing, pay-per-click marketing, or whatever marketing you plan to engage in.
Both your business plan and marketing plan help you:
In other words, they help create a cohesive brand across all channels. Ensure that your marketing matches the mission statement within your business plan, and you’ll stay in line with your business plan.
When you create your business plan, you’ll do a SWOT analysis. What this does is establish what the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are for your business. You can use this information in your marketing plan to address these issues.
Doing the work to create a complete business and marketing plan will identify potential customer behavior in advance of your marketing plan. If you do your homework right, your marketing plan will work as you suspect.
Creating your business and marketing plan will help you understand your cash flow so that you can create a reasonable marketing budget. Your cash flow is an important consideration when developing a marketing plan.
When you truly understand your business, the opportunities your business offers, and your market, you’ll be able to set a more realistic marketing budget that helps you reach your goals.
Based on your analysis and established a budget, set goals and objectives for your marketing efforts based on the goals and objectives you set in your business plan. If you stated in your business plan that it would take five years to reach a specific dollar figure per year, is your marketing helping you achieve that goal?
With the information you’ve gathered, narrow your focus to a specific target audience who needs, wants, and desires what you have to offer. Ensure that your marketing efforts, while aligning with your business plan, also happen where your customers are.
The goals you set should be measurable, and you should have a mechanism in place to test whether or not you’re meeting those goals. Be very specific when you set goals so that you can have a number in an area that defines success for you.
The good thing about testing and measuring is that you can change midstream and stop doing something that isn’t working at all, and do more of what is working. This is especially true when marketing online. That’s what’s so great about online marketing; you’re not trapped into a marketing plan that isn’t working.
That was the long answer to the question; Do your marketing efforts support your business plan? The short answer is that they need to. If they don’t, you need to rethink both the business plan and marketing plan to craft a successful result from both.
Project management is crucial to remember, no matter how small the project. Even when you are doing a project alone, many aspects need to be organized to keep on track of the project.
Every project, even when it’s one that you’re doing alone, has very similar requirements - some more and some less, but they all have things that need to be organized.
The very definition of project management includes organizing as an essential part. Even when you are running a project alone, you’ll need to manage the project in a way that keeps you on course to meet your deadline, and that requires organizing.
Some common project requirements include:
Even a solo project has or should have a due date with a list of expected deliverables. The deliverables might be products such as reports, eBooks, information products, Kindle books, apps, or something else entirely.
You’ll need to figure out what resources you have at your disposal to create an excellent end product. This includes what your budget is, what applications you need, and more.
When you know what the end product is to look like, you can work from the due date backward to figure out what order things need to be done by to meet your deadlines.
Every aspect of the project needs to be worked out, including the research that needs to be done. You may need to research the topic, check facts, and other things to ensure that you meet your expectations.
Even when you are doing a project for yourself or by yourself, keeping track of your time is an important component of ensuring that you create a profitable deliverable. If you spend too much time and aren’t organized about your time, it’ll take more time for the project to be profitable.
Even when you’re conducting a solo project, there will still be communication needs with vendors or people that you need information from so that you can complete your project.
Keeping a project organized requires managing many files in a manner that you can get to them easily as well as creating a naming convention and other organization for fast access.
ventually, you may need to promote your product to others, which requires a lot more planning and organizing.
Every product end, whether it’s a freebie or a paid product, requires a product launch, which also requires management and tasks to be done to create success.
Even after a product is done, launched, and sold, you’ll need to be sure to follow up to ensure future sales and customer satisfaction.
Managing even solo projects requires planning, organizing, and also motivating yourself to get things done on schedule. Sometimes it can be even more challenging to go it alone than to be in charge of an entire group of different personalities. And regardless of the number of people involved, all projects require understanding what it takes to get to the final deliverable on time, on budget, and in the process, creating an excellent deliverable.
Try using a project management system like Basecamp.com to manage all your solo projects for the highest quality results.
Progress leads to happiness. But what is progress? The answer is, it's momentum and moving forward every day on things that are important to you.
Progress is what we all want in our lives to stay consistently happy. With everything in life, you're either moving forward or backward. If you're standing still, other people pass you, so technically, you're moving backward.
Starting something new is hard, but remember that when there's motion, there's action. Motion drives actions, and it creates momentum. As you take action, it drives more movement. New ideas come up. Motivation arises. And things that seemed impossible become a reality.
That's the power of momentum. It's feeling like everything is falling into place. You feel unstoppable, and everything works out your way.
Begin with your goals. Start by asking, "What do I want to accomplish?" Set clear and precise objectives, because the more precise you are, the easier it becomes to move forward.
It's easier to take action if you have a clear vision. And you can use your goals as "fuel" to build momentum. The cycle continues because increased momentum will fuel new goals, and new goals will build more momentum. This is why your momentum is essential.
Having said that, be careful. Momentum is risky. For instance, picture a ball rolling down a hill. It starts at a low speed, then it picks up speed. This is good.
Then, imagine what happens if a rock blocks the ball. The ball either breaks or loses its speed and moves more slowly. For example, if you start writing an article each day, you'll gain momentum. Every day, you'll be motivated to write something, and new ideas will flow.
However, when something unexpected happens, and you're not able to write on a specific day, the next day, it becomes even harder to do so.
Losing momentum makes you lose focus, and it becomes hard to get things done.
To maintain momentum, keep fueling the engine even though you're already moving at your desired speed. Many people stop adding fuel as soon as they reach that speed; this causes them to lose momentum gradually, and before they know it, they're standing still. And they lose their focus.
Believing is the difference between a world changer and a naysayer - people who think they can change the world and those who remain stagnant. Let no one steal your belief because it is the fuel behind every success.
2. Get a quick win
Success is contagious. When we succeed at something, we believe we'll keep succeeding. In your journey to do extraordinary things, don't go for the mountain; start by conquering an anthill. This quick win will set the tone and lay a foundation for future achievements.
3. Build on results
There is a considerable difference between actions and results. Many people focus on accomplishing things that don't help them move closer to their goals. Spend your time and energy on actions that produce results; those that move you closer to your goals. Every result enables us to see a little further and believes more.
4. Maintain a level head
The journey to achieving your goals is full of challenges, but always keep things in perspective. Don't get too excited when things are good, and don't get too low when things are bad. If you keep moving, you'll eventually achieve your goals.
Momentum provides an easier and more efficient form of growth. However, you need the ambition to break from using more resources to fuel it. Because the things that seem to push you forward are the same things pulling you back. Momentum doesn't happen by chance, and nor is it willed into existence. To achieve momentum, you need to understand its source, and then relentlessly fuel it.
Networking is something very important to ensure that your business succeeds.
You’ve probably heard it said that “it’s who you know, not what you know” that makes you a success. While it’s not really true completely, it is helpful to know people and to make your business known to others. Whether you network with peers, your audience or educators, it’s nice to learn habits that can make the experience more enjoyable.
Learn Communication Skills
Communication takes two people - a person with a message and the person deciphering the message. It’s up to the person who is giving the message to speak in a way that the receiver can understand the message. So, it’s up to you to practice delivering the message you want your audience to hear in the right way.
Don’t go into any networking event without a plan, but don’t be so rigid that you’re not natural. It is okay to divert a little from the plan if it’s ultimately giving you a result that you wanted when you set your goals for the event. A plan of action is going to see you through the event in a more successful way than just going in blind.
Choose the Right Opportunities
The networking events that you want to attend should be focused on the needs of your business so that you can reach your goals. Attend events that have a purpose such as connecting you with the right people who can help your business grow. Plus, you want to go into it with the idea that you can also provide value.
Practice Your Elevator Speech
It’s important that you know in advance how you’ll introduce yourself and talk about your business to each person you meet. You don’t want to sound like a broken record, though, so don’t memorize one line - instead understand everything you can about your business and your audience so that you can easily let people you meet know what you do in a way that that person will remember.
Develop an Attraction Hook
Depending on the type of event, you can create an attraction hook that will help people remember you. Some people are known from their brightly colored hair, or funny shirts, or a particular catchphrase. Ensure that your hook is appropriate for your audience; you want to be memorable but not a joke.
Focus on Quality over Quantity
Giving your business card out to everyone at the event should never be your goal. You should know in advance who is going to the event and who you’d like to meet. If you know some people who can introduce you to the people you want to meet, all the better.
While you do want to sell things, you also want to build relationships with people. The relationships you build through networking events are more important than any amount of money you can make. As you learn to focus on relationship building, the networking events will automatically become more enjoyable because you’ll lift the pressure of performance.
Follow Up Fast
When any event is over, the moment you are back home or in your hotel room, or sign off from the online event, make notes of what happened, who you conversed with, what they said, what you said, and their information if you collected it. Then, within the next 48 hours, email the person a nice letter, and/or if appropriate send them a card in snail mail. The follow-up is almost the more important than the event. It will make you stand out among the others since most people do not remember to follow up.
When you go into a networking event prepared with a plan of action, you’ll automatically enjoy it more because you’ll know what your goals are and how you’ll achieve them. By placing your focus on building relationships and even making friends instead of just what you can get out of it, you’ll truly enjoy networking events more.
Most of us make cleaning way harder than it has to be! There is no reason to spend hours every day trying to keep your house clean. With proper plans, organization, and know-how, you can keep your home clean and presentable at all times.
* Clean the Dirtiest Thing Last – Work top to bottom, outside toward the inside or center, from the right in a clockwise motion and always clean the dirtiest areas last. This will help avoid spreading dirt and grease around and having to use more cleaning supplies such as sponges and cloths. You will also be gaining small "wins" along the way, making you feel productive and you will want to keep going.
* Sanitize Sinks, Sponges, Brushes and Toilets – These things get super dirty. Believe it or not, sponges and sinks can sometimes be dirtier than your toilets. It’s important to sanitize your sink each day. Use a cleaner that gets rid of bacteria such as bleach, or a commercial cleaner that gets rid of germs. In addition, sanitize your sponge by cleaning well with the cleaner, then zapping it in the microwave. For your toilet, you can use flat soft drinks to dissolve dirt and not have to the worry about your dog drinking chemical water. Just pour flat soda (or buy super cheap soda) into the bowl and let soak overnight. Then in the morning, scrub and flush away the germs.
* Use an Oven Liner – The oven gets dirty because when you bake items they often drip or splatter. If you put a non-stick liner in the bottom of your oven you can easily wipe it out as you clean up the kitchen each evening after dinner. Spending one minute and a few dollars right now will save you hours later trying to get off burnt-on food.
* Use Rain X or Vinegar on Your Shower Door – Do you have shower doors or any glass that gets wet and spotted from water? If so you can use anything designed for automobiles to bead up rain water to help keep the spots down. If you are looking for something natural, vinegar is a great option. The trick is to also wipe down the doors before the water dries in spots. If you don't want to use your towel every time try using a squeegee. If everyone in the house is taught to wipe down the tub, shower, sink and other surfaces after drying off, you’ll hardly ever have to do deep cleaning in the bathroom.
* Wash Shower Liners with Bleach in Washer – Is your shower liner getting moldy? Instead of replacing it, you can actually throw it in the washing machine with bleach and soap. Use hot water, and then hang up while still wet. Teach everyone to fully close the curtains to avoid getting mold in the future.
* Keep Your Bedroom Comfortable – It can be very hard to sleep in a mess. If you train yourself and everyone else to make the bed first thing, the room will automatically feel cleaner and more restful. Eliminating clutter by cutting down on the stuff you have, only keeping in drawers and closets things you actually use. This will also make cleaning less work.
* Basket It – Take five minutes to circle the house with a basket, putting anything that doesn’t belong in the room inside the basket. Go through twice, so you can also put the stuff away after collecting it. This can cut down on clutter in a big way. Want to teach kids to pick up their belongings? Have a lost and found and charge for retrieval.
* Create a Home for Everything – Organization will help tremendously. If everything has a home, such as shoes, coats, umbrellas, books and so forth, there will be a lot less clutter. Create homes for things with baskets, cubbies and shelving.
* Use Phone Time Wisely – If your mom or best friend calls, use the time in a productive manner. Get a headset so that you have your hands free and keep moving during the entire call cleaning anything that’s dirty or folding laundry.
Cleaning doesn’t have to take that much time out of your day if you keep cleaning as you go, and teach your family to do the same. Having a home for each thing you own, and a logical place to store things, will also help. Creating procedures and scheduling times to do deep cleaning will also make a huge difference.
One of the best skills anyone can learn is the skill to get things organized and keep them organized. Sometimes the idea of organization can scare someone so much that they don’t even try. But, if you take the time to organize your home and life, the truth is everything will go much smoother.
* Use Baskets and Cubbies – Build cubbies or use beautiful wicker baskets to collect the things that get misplaced around the house.
* Everything Has a Home – As you set up your home, put things in logical places that make sense. For example, coffee mugs should be stored near your coffee maker, as should the sugar and creamer.
* Clean as You Go – Whenever you do anything, clean as you go instead of leaving things out. Clutter is the number one reason a home looks dirty; not actual dirt.
* Make Your Bed Right Away – Believe it or not, getting up and making your bed will start your day off right. Not only will you get in a bit of stretching but you’ll immediately transform your room.
* Keep a Running List – Put a pad of paper on your fridge. When you run out of anything, or are just low on it, write it down. Pull off the list each time you go to the store so you won’t forget things.
Organized Events and Appointments
* Sync Calendars – Everyone in the family should have an online calendar such as Google Calendar to keep track of dates. These calendars should all be synced so that anyone in the family can easily see what anyone in the family is doing today.
* Schedule Fun and Work – We have a tendency to only schedule “work” or doctor’s appointments. But, it’s also important to schedule fun time, date night, one-on-one time with your children and so forth. This will ensure that it happens.
* Get a Trash Bucket – Keep trash in its place with a special bucket made for your vehicle. On trash day for your home, empty it as you pull your trash can out to the curb.
* Use a Glove Box-Sized Accordion File – Some things you must keep inside your car, but you want to keep it organized so find a file folder that fits in the glove box for these papers.
* Get a Dash Mount for Electronics – A mount for your phone and/or GPS will help keep everything well organized. You’ll always know right where your phone is, and you’ll be able to see your GPS easier.
* Create a Filing System – Deal with paper only once. When you get mail, put it in the “in box”. When you touch it, make sure you open it and process it immediately, throwing away what you don’t need and filing the rest away.
* Keep Bills Organized – Get a numbered, slotted organizer; put the bills in there in the order you need to pay them. Alternatively, pay them via your bank online. Usually this is called “Bill Pay” or something like that. You can schedule payments the moment you get the bill, and then file away.
Creating a system of organization might feel strange at first, but after just a few weeks it will become second nature. You’ll be able to get more done because you’re not spending your time finding missing paperwork, or cleaning up messes before you can get down to work.
It may be that your state of mind can make the difference between a successful business and a failed one. It can make a difference in your personal satisfaction and how others view your business efforts. Developing a successful mindset is key. But how? Here are some tips.
Having impossible-to-reach goals is a good way to set yourself up for discouragement. You want to have goals that are high enough to inspire you, but not so high that you miss them again and again. If you are having trouble meeting your goals and thinking positively, stop and take an assessment of your goals. Maybe you need to pull your goals back down toward the earth a bit.
On the other hand, you might find yourself getting negative about your business because you are not challenged. If it is just too easy to meet your goals, perhaps your goals are not high enough. Challenge yourself, but keep it manageable.
Keep Positive Company
When you hang around with negative nay-sayers, it tends to rub off. Your acquaintances might be jealous of you, too, and threatened by your success. Try to keep company with upbeat people whose excitement is contagious.
Write Your Dreams
Keep a list handy of all the reasons you started your home-based business. Look at it whenever you feel overwhelmed or negative. Remind yourself of why you're doing this. This list might include financial goals, too, and why you want to earn that money.
Don't Blame Others
Don't blame others for your failures. Of course, it's not positive to beat yourself up over your failures, either. The healthy way to handle failure is to take responsibility for the failure and learn from it. Think of it as a motivational moment - you can improve and not make the same mistakes again.
Sometimes, you can exhibit a negative mindset by being too cautious. If you always feel the need to have several back-up plans before taking any risk or venture, it can hold you back. Being sensible about risks is healthy, but being overly cautious can paralyze you.
Confidence in Your Abilities
Sometimes it's hard to believe in yourself and your talents. But if you want to develop a positive mindset, you need to think well of yourself and your skills. Have confidence in your skills. There may be others who have similar skills, but no one has your personality behind them.
When it comes to having success in business, your mindset has more to do with your success or failure than you realize. Do you have a positive or a negative mindset? If you have a negative mindset you may not be aware of it. Here are some keys to achieving and keeping a positive and successful business mindset.
Focus is definitely a key to a successful mindset. Continually remind yourself of what your business is about, what its purpose is, and why you're doing it. Keep focusing on your goals by having them somewhere you can read them multiple times a day.
To achieve a successful mindset, you need to weed out that negative thoughts and ideas you may not even know you have. Here are some things to watch out for that may indicate a negative mindset:
* Having excessive back-up plans and being over-cautious may mean you are doubtful about your success. Safety nets are understandable, but they can become a tempting escape when things are less than perfect. To be successful, you need to press through those imperfect times, not run from them.
* Believe you deserve it. You may think that you really don't deserve to succeed in business. You just aren't "that type." To be successful, though, you need to believe you are that type!
* Uncertainty can be a manifestation of a negative mindset - you are not sure of yourself. There are resources out there; you can learn what you need to succeed. You just have to go for it.
3. Think like an entrepreneur
If you are starting your own business, it won't work to think like an employee. You need to think like your own boss! This means the freedom and responsibilities that come with being the head of a business. It also means a lot of hard work.
4. Believe in your product or service
Whether you are selling something for a company or something of your own creation, you need to really love and believe in the product to succeed. If you are offering a service, you need to believe that you are offering something unique and excellent. Keep that mindset that says your product or service is absolutely worth it.
5. Not "I'll try"...
If someone asked you if you plan to succeed in business, would you say, "I'll try"? Then you have a negative mindset! You need to think more along the lines of "I will" or "I can." Thinking "I'll try" is a non-committal mindset that is not conducive to success.