It's Monday afternoon after a pretty productive morning. Things are scheduled out for the week and you are confident that you will be able to tick off each to-do on your list by the end of the week. Great!
But from the corner of your eye, you see movement. You look up to see an apologetic look in your boss's eyes as she stands there holding a huge file in her hands containing the mother of all projects. Your head swims as you begin to break into a cold sweat and you feel like throwing up your hands and running out of your office as fast as you can. Unfortunately, that mother of all projects just blew up your schedule for the week, because your boss just added this bit of information: the deadline is Friday!
No matter how unbelievably big a project may seem, there is always a way to divide and conquer. Here are 7 tips for conquering any seemingly insurmountable challenge and achieving your greatest goals.
1. Assess your assignment and needs to get the job done
The worst thing you can do is sit on a task you are finding overwhelming--the more time ticks by, the more stressed out you will become. Immediately, take a very close look at the assignment and ask questions up front. This is your opportunity to come up with different possibilities for achieving the goal, and get back to your boss as soon as possible if you are going to need help beyond your immediate resources.
2. Communication is key
If you find you are hitting a wall and can't find a way around it, reach out to others for help. Another's perspective on a project can send you in a completely different direction--getting you around that wall. And, regularly provide updates on your project so there are no surprises--be as transparent as possible.
3. Document the process
There are many hurdles to successfully completing a big project, so make sure you document the entire process. It happens--sometimes goals are not made by the deadline--but you will have the documentation you need to back you up as to the reasons for the delay.
Show your true leadership skills by reaching out to others that may be able to take on a portion of your massive to-do list. Don't be a glory hoarder--share the hard work and pride that will come from the completion of a tough assignment.
5. Create digestible parts
When feeling overwhelmed, it's easy to get lost in a pile of paperwork and to-do lists and not know where to begin. Break a project into small, easily digestible parts by creating a list of doable sections to complete within a certain timeframe, and then check off each section one at a time as they are completed.
6. Take time to acknowledge achievements
For every step you successfully complete, check it off on your list and take a moment to give yourself, and those who are helping you, a pat on the back and acknowledge the forward-moving progress.
7. Keep your eye on the prize
It is important that you don't lose your way as you plow through your project. Periodically remind yourself of the outcome you wish to achieve and go over your to-do list and reassess where you are and where you still need to go. "It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do." Elbert Hubbard