At least once in our lives, we got to deal with a big project. The first time we handled it we were probably a little nervous and made a few mistakes. We might have even found it hard to sleep. With that experience, we learned a few things about handling projects. I’ve learned a few tricks, myself too, and these are basically on maximizing productivity. This article is all about the tricks I learned after handling several big projects and strict deadlines.
A full stomach means lots of energy to burn at work. In addition to that, you won’t need to take snack breaks because you won’t go hungry until the next required meal of the day, which are basically all three meals. Warning: You shouldn’t eat too much, though, as it can make you drowsy.
The kind of meal you want to have is one that is refreshing and packed with energy. If you have a particular diet you are following, look for meals that are rich in good carbohydrates but aren’t high in sugar. Furthermore, consider pairing your meal with a nutritious drink as it also contributes to getting you pumped with energy.
Work on it all day
The best way to focus on your project is to work on it for one whole day. Do this especially if you’re just starting to work on it. It’s always a great way to set off your project to a good start, and the best way to do that is to get a good deal of work done on the first day. Moreover, the first day usually involves some planning, so having a whole day dedicated for that will relax your mind a bit as you are not pressed for time. Imagine how much pressure you’d be in if you were to come up with a concrete plan for your first big project in under an hour. Having a whole day for planning will allow you to think thoroughly and you might even have room to ponder on alternative plans as well as start doing the first step on your process.
Warning: Don’t forget to take quick (about 15 to 20 minutes) meaningful breaks – squeeze in a power nap (The required is exactly 20 minutes, so this is really perfect for quick breaks.), eat to refuel (If you feel the need to, get yourself a small snack, just enough to give you a boost of energy.). A long day of thinking about one single thing can be quite exhausting so take that much needed break.
List the things you have to do
I know this is so cliché, but it does serve its purpose. A to-do-list is your guide. With it, you will know what things you have to do. Just by having that little information, you can already feel yourself focusing on the tasks ahead. You probably won’t get that if you immediately dive right in.
Warning: When making your to-do-list, make two. One for all the processes you need to go through to complete your project, and the second one is for the steps you need to take to complete each process. Pick out one or two processes for one work day and focus on that. Being specific with your tasks can help in giving you a clear idea of what to do and it sure saves you a lot of time.
Putting in extra hours to accomplish your big project isn’t always a good choice, as it eats at the time you spend on the rest of your life. However, sometimes, it can’t be helped. You have basically two options for this. You either do it on a weekend or pull out an all-nighter.
If you decide to burn your midnight candle, do it on a Friday so that you can catch up on rest and lost sleep on the weekend. Doing it on other days not mentioned could affect your performance and productivity. This is mainly due to lack of proper sleep, and the lack of a break from your job could overwork you. You could even lose zest for your job, so try not to exceed your limits and do take care of yourself.
If you work on a weekend, only dedicate one day for it and immediately follow it with a whole day of rest, or at least a good night’s sleep. As mentioned, a good rest is important. The best way you can gain rest is through proper sleep. Hence even if you can’t afford to have a whole day of rest and relaxation, at least allow yourself proper sleep at night. Your body and mind need it. Don’t deprive them of that.
Walk off the procrastination
Now, when you do projects like this, it needs all your concentration and attention, but sometimes you waiver. If you feel yourself slipping to procrastination, walk it off. Perhaps you need a breather. Procrastinate but do something that will give you the energy to get back to work.
Think of activities that are fun but do not drag you down. An example would be surfing through social networking sites. If you are already working on the computer and procrastinate by gluing yourself more to the monitor, you didn’t really do anything different. You just did something more interesting but is still technically the same thing. The best way to battle that urge to procrastinate would be to step away from the computer. Take a walk, jog, or exchange jokes with a friend. Use the other muscles in your body that are in need of movement.
Warning: Make sure you don’t procrastinate for too long. Set a time limit for your breather or else you could end up finishing your day without having completed any of your tasks. Remember that it’s a big project and it does need most of your attention.
What experiences have you had with big projects? Share your funny and even disastrous experiences in the comments below.