Have you ever been working on a project with a deadline, you have completed all that is required but you just won’t let it go?
You know there is more that you can do, you can make it better, so you just keep modifying it, reworking it. Now the deadline is here and in reality you could have let it go weeks ago and moved on to the next project but the perfectionist in you DEMANDS that you don’t turn it in or show it to the client until it meets your “high expectations”. Does this sound familiar? You know it does. What keeps you from completing the project and letting it go?
Sometimes perfectionism is confused with procrastination. But you can overcome this with these easy tips/tricks:
- Outline the project, be very detailed in this step
- Assign tasks if there is a team involved
- Assign timelines
- Schedule follow-up meeting for progress reports
- Assign accountability partners within the team
- Use technology for tracking progress
- Set rewards for early completion
- Schedule a completion lunch celebration
Let’s look at each of these:
Outline the project
This is the most important part of the project, the more detailed you are in this phase of the project, the smoother the entire process will go. In the outline phase, you will break down all of the tasks required to complete this project. Things to consider in this phase:
- Does anything need to be outsourced/if so to whom and what is their turn time?
- Will items need to be ordered/if so when does this need to be done to make the timeline flow? Will a P.O. be needed?
- Because of the timeline what items that will take longer to accomplish need to be considered earlier in the project?
- What internal talent can we use for the majority of the tasks?
- Create logical teams to maximize efficiency (2 heads are better than one)
Now that teams are selected, let’s divide up the workload:
- Who will be in charge of ordering needed items?
- Who will handle outsourcing (if needed)?
- Which team will coordinate internal talent?
- Each team will need to work out their own outline and timelines
- Set 3-4 dates in your timelines
- Initial plan
- Midway progress report
- Present individual teams completed project to group for approval/revision
- Present completed project as a whole
Too many meetings can derail a project, trust the teams that you assembled and have as few of these as needed. As a team leader, keep two calendar spots available for your team, but they are only to be used if your input is needed.
Although you have assigned teams, there are times when they will get to a place where they feel stuck or they are bogged down with other projects that they may be involved with, they will need someone to help them to be accountable so that the entire team does not suffer because of one member that drops the ball. Remember to keep these friendly and helpful, no one needs another boss, but we do all need help at times. Remember we are overcoming the brain lock of perfection. These pairings need to be well thought out.
There are several online tools that are perfect for projects, my personal favorite is Trello. This online tool is shared by teams and anyone can log in at any time and see where the other team members are in the process, which tasks are completed, you can even upload items for the team to review or if you have completed a portion of the project that another team needs to move forward it can be housed here and a notification sent to the others letting them know it is completed.
Trello is also a great communication tool, you can ask questions within the tool and tag the person from whom you need an answer and they will receive a notification and can answer right inside the tool, plus no one else on the team will be disturbed by this communication unless you tag them also. They will be able to see the communication but will not receive a notification.
Another tool for team collaboration that I use daily is Dropbox, this is a cloud-based storage area that can be accessed only by the persons that you add to the folder, you can also message with in this tool.
We use it for all of our monthly projects for our clients. When our designers upload graphics to Dropbox they can alert me within this tool so that I know they are complete and if there are changes that need to made, I can comment on each individual item and tell them what specifically needs work. It makes it easier on projects that may have 30-40 graphics and maybe only 1 or 2 are in need of modification.
Make it fun, maybe some small gift cards for the teams that finish early, or an extra 30 minutes for lunch or a leave early day. Set up the guidelines for what will be considered “early completion”. This always makes it easier to get things done, everyone loves a prize.
Select somewhere nicer than the team would normally eat lunch and let them know at the beginning of the project that if you meet xx/xx completion date that we will have a long lunch here and that the company will be picking up the tab.
These simple tips can make your projects go from arduous to fun and get your team out of the trap of holding on to tasks for too long, they will finally exchange perfect (procrastination), for DONE.
Leave me a comment on here and let me know if any of this helps you and your team, I really want to know.
Robin Wilson is the co-owner of Social Climber Pro and SCP Auto.
She is a self-proclaimed social media guru and specializes in social marketing for auto dealerships. Robin has also been instrumental in teaching auto dealerships how to market through social media to their existing database and shows them how to make sure that they do not become victims of conquest marketing. She is a marketing coach to all and has become a leader in Facebook marketing strategies in the U.S.