We all look forward to the outcome, but sometimes we grow weary and impact productivity when the project takes a long time to complete. The end goal seems so far away that the excitement we had when starting the work fades.
There is a simple way to deal with this: process (aka "❤️ the process").
- 1 Do you have a process yet?
- 2 Think of all the things you need to get done.
- 3 Group like tasks together.
- 4 Abstractly think about what it takes to complete them.
- 5 Design your day to accomplish tasks.
- 6 Repeat this day until your project is complete.
- 7 Create measures to excite you about your newfound efficiency.
Do you have a process yet?
A process is a series of steps you follow to accomplish a task. Often we don't think of the process -- it just happens. It's the result of knowing what we want to do combined with our past experiences to get it done.
But consciously spending time to develop the process can lead to significant productivity gains. Because I bet you've had times where you wanted to get something done, but energy levels were low, maybe you had a light headache -- something was keeping you from focusing on the task at hand.
Having a process can break you out of these lulls and get work done that matters. It makes a big difference in daily productivity. Especially as you make the process into a habit -- which means you follow the process without thinking about it.
It also gives you a sense of direction and ownership of your work. The confidence the work you're doing at any given time will advance you toward your outcome.
Take writers, for instance. Writers write. If they aren't writing, they aren't getting anything productive done. But we've all heard of writer's block. It often strikes, but for some, it's a myth -- it doesn't exist.
Why? I'm willing to bet the writers who never experience writer's block are habitually following a process. You, too, can take advantage of this. Let's see if we can find a strategy that works for you.
Think of all the things you need to get done.
This is the easy part. You know what your end goal is. Start there and go back through all the steps it will take you to reach the end. Every component, resource, task, etc...
Once you have the list, it's time to organize them before creating repeatable processes around them.
Group like tasks together.
Like tasks are things you need to do where the work to get them done is similar. For instance, writing a blog post is similar to writing a Facebook ad. It's similar to writing the copy on a landing page or a product label.
It's writing. Group writing tasks together. Group designing tasks. Group 3D printing tasks. Whatever the types of work you need to do to reach your goals.
Once you have them organized nicely, it's time to think about how you can create a repeatable process around them.
Abstractly think about what it takes to complete them.
Now you're at the hard part. For each group of tasks, you need to imagine what you need to do to complete them. This isn't something I can give you. You must develop a process that works for you.
Remember I said writers write. Inside of that are various steps a writer must go through to write. They need something to write on. They need inspiration, resources, research, experience, and more. It's different for every writer too. What works for one is a miserable experience for another.
I know you've got things to do -- something that will pull you away from really doing this exercise thoroughly. But if you can focus long enough to define the processes you can follow to complete each task, you will be happy.
Design your day to accomplish tasks.
Now that you have processes ready, it's time actually to put them into use. At first, it will be tough. Your natural habits aren't formed to follow the processes yet. You must make a concerted effort to follow them, and it will feel counterproductive.
Don't give up. Design your day to put processes into view, so you don't forget to use them. When I say "design your day," I mean to schedule things in whatever way you need to make it work for you. That could mean adding everything into a calendar.
I don't personally work well with that. For me, it's a daily to-do list I create each morning. Sometimes I even make pop-up reminders and notes off the side of my screens to remind me.
You only need to prioritize the processes and find ways to keep other things out of the way. Over time you will start to follow the procedures without even thinking about it. It will be second nature to you.
You may not even realize how much more efficient you've become.
Repeat this day until your project is complete.
In the title of this guide, I mention "the outcome with inevitably follow." My point here is when your project is challenging to complete and takes a long time -- it's easy to grow jaded. The end is "so far out there" it's difficult to become excited to do the work.
These processes you've created will give you small wins. All you have to do is keep small-winning until you take the trophy at the end. Don't focus on the award. Understand you will get it by following your processes every day. The goal will inevitably arrive.
Create measures to excite you about your newfound efficiency.
One last thing before closing out this guide. Try to create some way of measuring the effectiveness of your new process-driven workflow.
You don't have to do this, it's your choice, but it could generate some extra momentum for you as you realize just how much extra you're getting done. Or the time-savings you maybe didn't recognize at first.
Every small win goes a long way toward completing the overall project.
I don't measure as I am not the ultra-organized type, and I'm already in the flow of using processes. But I pay attention when it feels like I'm not making the same progress I'm used to.
I only say that because I don't want you to think it has to be a strict, regimented schedule with milestones, etc. If you don't work that way, don't try to force yourself to do it. Go with whatever option works for you. Attempts to work outside your comfort zone will likely fail.
Do the work. Love the process. Be consistent. Reap the rewards.