As promised in yesterday’s post (lists2), today we’ll discuss Project Lists. Why so much time on lists? It’s not just the writing of the list that I enjoy, or the satisfaction it gives me to check-off completed tasks, I love the creative planning that goes into the lists.
Lists give us the opportunity to turn on our creative juices, to plan our successes, and to build our dreams. List making frees the artist in us and lets us imagine the very best that life can be. I am an accountant, there isn’t much creative about accounting; as a matter of fact, many “creative” accountants have ended up in jail. So, I have opted to find my creative outlets in other areas of life! Hence, the need for a project list!
These lists support special events and endeavors; things I don’t do every day because I need to work in order to eat regularly and live indoors. Such things might include vacation planning, birthday parties, side jobs, crafts, and decorating projects. While all of these things sound like a great deal of fun, they are also considerable work if you want them to be successful, within your budget, and to take place with a minimal amount of stress.
I refer to project lists as I do my daily planning so I can add, modify, delete, or check off tasks completed. Project lists should be fun! I like to start my creative thinking process as though I had unlimited resources. Then, I compare my wanter with my gotter and adjust as needed.
Building your project list
- Define the project: Determine the goal, set dates, mark deadlines, and establish a budget. Gather ideas. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Easy! Right? Make sure you define what success looks like FOR YOU. You cannot predict what success will look like for anyone else. There’s not much worse than when you’ve poured your heart into something and you don’t get the reaction you were hoping for from other people; so know what YOUR definition of success is!
- Start a resource list: Gather more ideas. Where shall we meet? Whom shall we invite? What do we really want to do? Dream big! How much can we afford? Do we have supplies on hand? What do we need to purchase? Must it be new? Can we borrow, rent, or buy used? Clip photos, get color swatches, do all that creative stuff. This is the place where all your imagination can really soar!
- Divide the work and conquer: Gather still more ideas. Talk to friends. Get volunteers lined up. Consider the law; get permits and licenses if necessary. Plan your invitations or advertising. Include vendors, contacts, addresses, phone numbers, and websites.
- Be real: Now is the time to compare your goals to your resources and see if you need to ramp up your efforts or scale back on your vision.
- Itemize, prioritize, and delegate: List all tasks that need to be completed and the name of the person(s) responsible (and accountable) for the task. Include deadlines, dollars, and designates.
- Schedule tasks: Move tasks to your daily lists as necessary so you can get started in a timely manner and stay on pace.
- Follow up for follow through: Make sure you follow up with the various people you are working with on a regular basis to make sure they have things under control; do not assume, do not hope, do not wish. If your success depends on someone else you must make the contacts to be sure they are really doing what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it.
- Enjoy: Enjoy your event! You worked hard to make it a success and you deserve some happiness. Relax, smile, talk to your guests. Have some fun!
- Evaluate: Planning can be a thankless job but someone has to do it! Review! But, be kind to yourself. What was wonderful? What needed improvement? Congratulate your crew! Learn from all of it and move on!
- Celebrate: We planners sometimes experience an emotional letdown when the event, and all the activity surrounding it, is over. Make sure you have something special lined up for yourself (and your crew) so you don’t get that sad empty feeling when it’s all over! Celebrate your success!
Projects can take the wind right out of you; but, not all planning or list-making need be as structured or as stressful as daily lists and project list can prove to be. Tomorrow we talk about the easy going “Someday List”. Until then, keep your eyes upon the Lord and plan for success!
My prayer for today… Dear Lord, Help me to share the fun of list making with my blog friends. Let my life, and my love of lists, reflect your Biblical admonition... “Let all things be done decently and in order”. 1 Corinthians 14:40 KJV