Being an entrepreneur is a constant struggle.
I’ve never met a single true entrepreneur who wasn’t always looking for the next big thing.
It doesn’t matter how little free time they have, or what the state is of their current projects, they are always open to new possibilities.
This can be both a good and a bad thing, but for me personally, it’s left me more than a little overwhelmed at points over the past few years.
In the past, I haven’t always been great at managing multiple projects. Usually, right in the midst of finishing one product, I’d decide it was a great time to start a new venture! So I’d go for it – regardless of how close I was to finishing the other project.
And rather than having one project at 100%, I’d have two (or even three) projects at various stages of completion.
I can’t explain why this happens, maybe it’s just the entrepreneur in me.
Thankfully, over the years I’ve learned how to manage multiple projects better.
Case in point, we’ve been dedicating a lot of time this year to improving Location Rebel. But, I’ve also been spending a lot of time on my golf site, Breaking Eighty, my golf membership club, the Eighty Club, doing golf marketing, and running a couple of other projects.
Part of that was building good habits but I also realized there were some fundamental components of project management that I had been using to help me start and finish projects.
Maybe these will help you too!
1) Improve Your Organization
If you can’t force yourself to be even the slightest bit organized, you might as well not even start the project.
Organization is essential to ensuring that you stay on track and are able to focus on the real priorities. This becomes even more important once you get multiple projects involved and have to balance your time between each of them.
If you have a proper roadmap to completion, filled with goals and timelines you will have a much greater chance of success.
The best way to accomplish this is to have a plan before you even get started. Know exactly how much time you are going to spend each week, and on what tasks.
Action Step: Pick a system that is going to help you stay organized. At Location Rebel, we use Asana as our main project management tool. It’s been a lifesaver for managing multiple projects at once.
Here are some thoughts on why Asana has been so game changing:
2) Learn the Ability to Say No
This is extremely important and one I’m still working on.
As I mentioned, so often the typical entrepreneur wants to get involved in as many opportunities as possible. However sometimes, no matter how great something seems, you have to be able to say no.
A big part of this is just being over-extended. You might go into something excited and with the best of intentions but with so much other stuff on your plate, it can wind up half finished.
Sometimes, you just have to say no and buckle down on the things already in front of you.
Action Step: Start building your ‘no’ muscle. The more you practice the easier it’s going to be and I bet you’ll start finishing a lot more of your current projects.
3) Decide a Feature Filter
So often we have a tendency to want to throw everything we possibly can into our products, businesses, whatever. This can be one the quickest ways to slow down progress and make yourself extremely frustrated in the process.
When I was writing one of my first products around overcoming uncertainty, I had this huge unrealistic list of things I wanted to include for the initial launch.
So I took a minute and got objective. I didn’t have time to tackle everything I thought I could so I only kept the most important features. That helped me continue to make progress, while not getting frustrated with the sheer amount of features I tried to cram in.
Action Step: With any project you’re taking on, ask yourself what’s the benefit? If you’re creating a product ask will it help you sell more? Does it really make the product that much better?
If you’re selling your freelancing services ask if this is going to lead to more clients or more money.
If the answer is no, scrap it and move on with your life.
4) Get a Life Outside of Work
We’ve all been there at some point, hell I’m probably there right now, where we get so wrapped up in the things that we are working on that we forget to have a life outside of our work.
Essentially what this leads to is lower levels of quality, more stress than necessary, and a propensity to burn out.
Don’t do that to yourself. At the very least set aside an afternoon or evening each week to step away from business and recharge. I love to play golf or meet friends for a cocktail. You might love to dig into a good book or play Fortnite.
Or you know, you can take a whole week and go someplace exotic. I mean, that’s not a terrible idea, right?
Action Step: Feeling stressed? Check out this post for a practical guide for relieving stress.
5) Make Sure to Follow Through
This where I get into trouble.
I’m great at starting projects.
I tend to get overly excited and jump right in, without thinking too much about how I plan to actually finish a project. I get sidetracked, start something else, lose interest, or any number of other things that keeps me from finishing what I’ve started.
Just in the last few years, I’ve started to take heed to each of the other 6 aspects of project management, and I feel like I’m closer with this whole follow through thing than I’ve been in forever.
It’s exciting. A little bit of momentum can carry you a long way – think about that if you are struggling to get something past the finish line.
Action Step: Stick to your plan and avoid distractions. Focus on how awesome you are going to feel when you’ve finished your project. And if you need more help consider starting a 30 day challenge that’s centered around your project.
6) Set an End Goal
Why are you working so hard on this? What are you hoping to get out of it?
If you don’t have a goal, then it’s really difficult to put your full effort into your projects.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself about your end goals:
- Do you want to make money?
- Free up time?
- Gain exposure?
- What is it that is driving you to do what you are doing?
Understanding exactly where you hope to be when all is said is done is vital to helping you get there.
Action Step: Get really specific with your end goals. Don’t just say you want to finish a project dig into your real motivations and the results you want to get, these will help you not only stay focused but it’s also a great way to know what you should say no to.
7) Follow Your Passion
You can work on just about anything without the need to be passionate about it, but doing something you love and believe in can certainly add motivation.
I’ve tried to choose projects and businesses that I really have an interest in. The kinds of things that I would do for free if I had to. Let’s face it, I’d happily golf, travel, and try cocktails from around the world even if I wasn’t getting any monetary benefit from it, I just love to do them.
Finding something you are passionate about is a much better long-term business model than grinding away at something you hate.
Action Step: Think about the things you’re truly passionate about. For me, finding a quest has led to some incredible experiences but also some great business ideas too.
Are You Gonna Apply These to Your Next Project?
How many of these things have you considered when it comes to your life and your businesses?
Whether you have a business or not, you’re applying project management skills to many aspects of your personal life too. Viewing yourself as the project manager of your life and continually analyzing it can be a worthwhile way to ensure you stay on track with your goals.
What are some of your best tips for managing projects and getting things done?
Sean OgleSean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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