A few weeks ago I made a super short post telling you to JUST START on your new projects, but then what? How do you make sure that project actually sees the light of day, and gets anywhere near completion?
So often we can start projects so completely pumped up & excited, but then they start to dwindle and fizzle out… where what was once your greatest idea ever soon becomes “meh.. it wasn’t that good anyway”. I’m totally guilty of this, but I’ve started using some tricks to keep up the momentum and motivation on projects that would otherwise have been scrapped!
Reignite your passion!
It was there when you had the idea, and it got even more insane when you started to hash out the idea, so where is it now?
I’m a perfectionist, which means more often than not I get caught up with the intricacies of a project rather than looking at the broader picture. Stepping back allows me to see the project as a whole, letting me re-evaluate what I’m working on & get back into my “oh, this is actually pretty exciting!” frame of mind. Concentrating on how the copy reads, or how a banner is a couple of pixels doesn’t do anything for your motivation!
- Read over your initial project notes (see how fast they were scribbled? YOU WERE PUMPED!)
- Take a step back and get inspired. Read some blogs, go to a conference, do some brainstorming… you’ll be surprised about the new ideas you can bring to your project.
- Think about the end goal, write about how you’ll feel when you unveil your masterpiece!
Keeping your project secret means you can, er.. secretly stop working on it. So let’s tell some people, and face the big old prospect of looking like a douche if you don’t carry this thing off!
- Start promoting your new project as soon as you sort of know what it is. Tell your family, tell your friends.. “I’m working on this super awesome thing that’s going to change the world!”
Treat it as a client project
It’s so very easy to let personal projects drop to the back of the queue, clients should come first, right? WRONG! It’s all one and the same. I’m not saying sack off all other projects while you work on your new shiny thing, but schedule time for it like you would any other project.
- Schedule, schedule, schedule. Set aside time for your project, even if it’s just a couple of hours a week. And most importantly – MAKE SURE YOU STICK TO IT!
I was at a conference last week where one of the speakers, Jason Santa Maria, talked about producing a ‘minimum viable product’ rather than a polished piece. Prioritising the aspects of your project that will be the backbone is a great approach, once all that’s in place you can prettify to your heart’s content!
- Work out what you’ll need to make your product viable, ie. for a website that would be the main template and several of the important pages. A fancy search function? that could come later.
- Put this list in order of priority and start working!
Measure your progress weekly
You’ve come a long way, baby! Time to start feeling smug about what you’ve achieved so far. Got those initial designs to the print? HOT DAMN! you’re good. Knowing how close you are to your project being release ready/finished will motivate you to give it that final push.
- Make a big old to do list at the start of your project and feel that exhilaration when you cross each point off… hello, motivation!
- Once a week take a step back and see how far your project’s come over the past 7 days, then pat yourself on the back and crack open that bottle of beer.
Got it? Awesome.