In this week’s lesson we are going to break down one of your goals/projects for 2017 into actionable steps. I hope you had some success at choosing your top 5 and at coming up with your big why for each one.
You will need one of those defined projects from Day 8 for today’s task so if you missed that, go back and complete it first:
Listen or read Week 3 in your browser.
Why we break it down
Sitting there looking at a project like ‘Launch a new bootcamp location’ is kind of daunting.
When exactly will I find the time to tackle a behemoth project like that?
I know personally that between following up those two clients who weren’t at bootcamp this morning, emailing back that other client that can’t work out the online payment system, planning the session for tomorrow, getting the groceries, cooking lunch, cooking dinner, doing my own workout, writing a blog post and calling the council about updating my park permit that my day is pretty full. And I don’t even have kids!
Our days can get busy with so many things. They can get hijacked at any moment by a phone call, email or something you forgot to do yesterday. A big project like starting a new bootcamp location tends to just get put off indefinitely.
So what I want to show you today is show you how to turn that big project or goal into smaller, manageable tasks that you can get done with just a little bit of time each day or week.
There are two ways to go about this, one of which will probably appeal more to you then the other. Mind mapping is great if you are a visual person. Task creation is great if you are more of an ordered, bullet point type of person.
I actually use both methods and encourage you to do the same.
Minding your map
You may have heard of mind mapping before. You may have even done it before at school or some work training day.
Mind Mapping is the process of brainstorming your idea to help reveal all of the aspects of it and how they might connect.
One starts with their idea written in the middle of a piece of paper. Let’s keep using the example of opening a new bootcamp location.
Next we think of all of the things that need to do that.
- We’ll need to do some research on where to host the bootcamp. Let’s call that ‘Planning’.
- We’ll need to find some people to come to the new location. Let’s call that ‘Marketing’.
- We’ll also need some sort of game plan for launch day. Let’s call that ‘Launch’.
What you do might be different. This is just what comes to my mind.
Write these three words around the outside of ‘Open New Location’ and connect them back up with lines.
Next we start creating more specific tasks. Starting with Planning I’ll start writing down all of the things I need to research and plan before launching my bootcamp. Things like:
- Choose a park
- Research local residents
- Choose days and times sessions will run
- Find a trainer
- Intern that trainer
- Survey existing clients on a location they would like to have
I’ll connect these up with lines too. Not just to Planning but also to each other if they are related and even to Marketing and Launch if they are related to that.
Repeat the process for Marketing and Launch. Go as deep and with as much detail as you can.
Itty bitty tasks are the way to go
You don’t need to have done mind mapping to do this part, it will just make things quicker.
Like I wrote earlier, our goal here is to deconstruct a project or goal down to tasks that will take only a short period of time to complete.
A small task is much easier to schedule in and much less daunting to start.
Think about it. Doing a task that says ‘Email Kyle at Bootcamp Ideas about how to set up a website’ is much easier to complete than ‘Create a website’.
To do this, start with your overall goal. Let’s keep using the same example of starting a bootcamp in a new location.
In fact, this means we can steal some of the work we did before:
- Research a location to use
- Decide on times and days
- Market the new location
- Find and train a trainer
Now let’s take the first item and break it down into even smaller tasks:
- Research a location to use
- Make a list of all parks that you think would be suitable for a new location
- Check online for what permits you will need at each park
- Check that it has suitable lighting and public restrooms
- Check that it has ample parking
- Use Google to see if any other bootcamps are already running there
- If there are, make a list of their times and days
- Using the information you have gathered, choose a park to run your new bootcamp
Each one of those tasks (except maybe checking for lighting which might involve driving around to each park at night) can be completed in one sitting in a fairly short space of time.
You then repeat that with everything else you have until you have a massive lists of tasks (it helps to give them subheadings).
Note: A good task should be easily actionable. Include in your task description HOW you plan on doing the task, WHO might be involved and WHAT it’s about. For example, in the task I use above the how (email), the who (Kyle) and the what (help creating a website) is all include in the description. Doing this means you can just do the task without having to spend time working out what is involved.
I really like using Asana for this process.
Asana is meant to be a group project tool but it works great for solo projects too. It’s all online and accessible on my computer or via an app which means I can update it no matter where I am.
I usually create four sections for projects: Research, Preparation, Launch and Post-Launch. Then I place the appropriate tasks in each section. If one task is still too meaty I break it down using the sub-tasks feature.
This week is not going to be easy. But I’m going to be here with you, helping as much as I can.
Your assignment is to take ONE of your five projects, mind map it and then break it into small, one sitting tasks.
That’s it. Seems simple but this one will take a little while to do.
See you in Part B in a few days where we’ll look at how to tackle those smaller tasks. Great for if you feel time poor.