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Challenge Yourself to Do It Now

The following post is from Lisa of Working Naked: Challenge Yourself to Do It Now

The other day, when I needed to work on a project but couldn’t get motivated, I remembered a speech I heard about the “Assoonas.”You know…as soon as I buy a different house, I’ll have the perfect home office. As soon as I buy a new computer, I’ll have more clients. You get the idea.

Sometimes it’s easier to put things off than to handle them right away. Get off your “buts” (I’ve attended way too many motivational seminars!) and follow these tips to help you jump-start your next project and challenge yourself to do it now.

Use a To-Do List

Whether you use a scheduling program, your Smartphone, or even a paper-based planner to record everything you need to do, find a planning system that works. A good system for keeping track of client information is one that’s functional and easy to use. The to-do list should be simple and you should be able to customize it. When you use a to-do list the right way, it can keep you on track and make projects more manageable.

Keep in mind that making a to-do list is easy, yet remembering to look at your list is the hard part. If you feel yourself getting sidetracked, go back to your list.

Create a Master Project List

Before you start feeling overwhelmed about an upcoming project and deadline, list everything you need to do for the project on a master list. Then enter the different tasks on your to-do list for the appropriate day.

If the project you’re handling is something you’ll offer other clients, you’ll have a master list each time you start a project. Each project may be a little different, but the project list will give you a good framework for each project.

Prioritize Tasks

Give each task on your list a priority by listing the more important tasks at the top. Of course, that’s common sense, but many of us tend to list the easy tasks first. Either list the tasks according to priority, or place a number 1 next to the tasks you need to complete that day, a number 2 next to less important tasks, and so on.

Keep Yourself Moving Forward

After you review your project list and assign each task to a specific day, you may have trouble getting started. If so, work on an easy task first. After you finish one simple task, you’ll be ready to tackle bigger ones. Also, make sure you have a reasonable amount of tasks on your list. Otherwise, even when you complete a few tasks, you won’t feel as if you’ve accomplished anything.

Establish Rewards

Reward yourself when you finish different parts of a project. A reward may be as simple as taking a walk, going out to lunch, or shopping online for twenty minutes. Think of the reward as the carrot at the end of the stick that keeps you moving forward.

Not all projects you work on will be easy, but planning ahead and breaking projects down into manageable tasks will keep you focused and motivated to keep working.

How do you challenge yourself by tackling big projects?

Home office expert Lisa Kanarek is the founder of and the author of five books about working from home, including Organize Your Home Office For Success. Lisa works with entrepreneurs and home-based employees through seminars and individual consultations, to create functional home offices that meet each individual’s working style.