How To Get Through Big ProjectsBig projects can be a pain, and sometimes they keep us up at night. We delay starting them, or find other tasks that need to be done first. Why? Maybe because we’re intimidated by the amount of time required to finish these projects, don’t know where to start, or are struggling to get a clear picture of what needs to be done. “Few things are as daunting as a blank page, a report you need to write, or a pitch you need to create. It’s all too easy to find yourself staring at the large white window on your computer screen. Pausing to check your email. And staring some more,” says Minda Zetlin, contributor to Inc.

However, it’s a great feeling to finish a large project, and look back at what you’ve accomplished. Since Zetlin is a writer, she finds herself facing a blank page on a regular basis. She’s developed some effective ways to get past the panic, and finish a daunting project.

Four Tips To Get Through Big Projects

Set Small Tasks Aside

When you have a big project looming over your head, sometimes you procrastinate and look for anything else you can do instead. It could be cleaning up your inbox or organizing some files. They seem urgent;  but really you’re just avoiding the task at hand. When you get them all out of the way, your day is done and most of your energy is sapped.

Instead of doing the small things first, Zetlin suggests you ask yourself: What will happen if the task has to wait until after your bigger project is finished? “If the answer isn’t something dire, let it go till the more difficult task is done,” she says.

Break Up the Big Projects

Large projects can feel overwhelming. To get through them, it helps if you break them up in to smaller, more manageable pieces. Define your project, set goals, brainstorm, and get organized. If your deadline is far off, plan tasks in increments. That way you’re not scrambling to finish at the last minute.

Use Short Blocks of Time

Zetlin says an effective approach is to set short blocks of time, mixed with short breaks, and concentrate on the job at hand. For example, work on a task for 25 minutes without stopping, and then take a five-minute break. “After four of these cycles, take a longer break. Knowing a break is on the horizon helps you focus on the work at hand and tackle it more efficiently,” says Zetlin. This is the principle behind the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method that helps people get through big projects.

Reward Yourself

Once you’ve broken your project down into manageable chunks, stay motivated and on schedule by rewarding yourself each time you reach a milestone. “The reward could be anything from a few minutes playing a video game, to a short shopping expedition, to watching a favorite sporting event,” says Zetlin. Just make sure it’s fun.

Big projects are sometimes scary, usually difficult, and definitely time consuming. But they do need to get done, on time and on budget. While everyone is different, and these tips may not work for you, they’re a great starting point to help you meet your goals.

What helps you get through big projects?