Project Mom: How To Tackle Your Goals Project-Management Style
How is your new (resolution, goal, project) going? I’m guessing your response is “It’s going ok” or “It could be going better”
As a mom with a growing to-do list and full-time job, I like to manage all of my goals and resolutions like a project manager. So let’s chat. To answer, the above, I want us to think in terms of measurement and metrics, so we can collectively achieve our goals for the year.
So perhaps your answer should be:
I am 6 days into my new weight loss plan and I have been accountable for 3 of the 6 days.
My goal of having my laundry room organized is 25% complete. I am still on track to finish by January 31st.
My home improvement project is $2500 over budget, but that’s ok because I think I can recover costs in using different flooring. I acknowledge that there are more costs and am aware of the risk of being over budget.
Why should we develop this habit? Because it forces us to acknowledge what has been accomplished, what is next and how much time, effort or resources it will take to complete our task.
The best advice I ever received as a project manager was that a status update on a project should always be answered in specifics. How many days behind schedule are you? How far over budget are you? Too often we speak in general terms (i.e. the project is going well). Take a moment this week and ask people how their resolution, goal, or project is going. You will be surprised at how often people respond in vague ways.
Why? It is hard to admit to ourselves and others that we are not where we want to be in terms of finishing a task. Often we have a general sense of where we should be and less clarity on where we need to be. It can be difficult to admit that things could be progressing better or smoother. A good number of us speak generally about our goals and project status. Begin to change your thinking about how you respond to the standard question of “How is your xyz going?”.
Here are 4 tips to help you organize any resolution, goal, or project
1) Define Your Deliverables– What are the expected outputs or outcomes? Do you have expected costs associated with completing this resolution, goal, or project? What resources are available to you?
2) Set Your Time Limits– How long do you have to complete this task? Estimate a target completion date and work backwards from that date.
3) Create a Project Plan– this does not need to be elaborate. While there are many great resources online to help you organize your project or goal, this can be simply done with one sheet of paper. Write down the answers to the above questions. From here, you can further break down the timeline to create more manageable chunks to target completion. This also helps you track your progress relatively easy.
4) The Check-In– this is what most dislike. It can be difficult or annoying or cause guilt when you acknowledge that you are behind on your project or nowhere near completing it. That’s ok. The first step is to know where you are and then make forward progress (however small) in moving the needle towards completion.
Remember the vision board exercise earlier this month? Take one of your visions and put a quick project plan around it so you can measure your progress in 2019. On my vision board I had a cut out of an organized closet. Mine is a mess! Thus, I have defined an actionable task: Organize Closet.
Next, I define my due date: Organize Closet by Friday, February 15th, 2019
Budget? $100 for organizing supplies (plastic containers, new hangers etc)
I am willing to commit 1 hour per week for the next 6 weeks
Week 1 – Take everything out of closet and create 3 piles of clothes and shoes: Keep, Repair, Donate. Go get any necessary supplies.
Week 2 – Hang or fold all clothes in the “Keep” pile
Week 3 – Take repairs to dry cleaner, shoe repair etc
Week 4 – Start organizing other items in closet (jewelry, purses, belts)
Week 5 – Drop off donations
Week 6 – Pick up repair items and add back to closet. Address any remaining items that don’t have a home.
To recap my plan above, I created a quick project plan of how I plan to tackle my closet organizing. I have created measurable and actionable items. Each week I can answer clearly if I am on track according to my plan. Even if I have an off week or don’t feel like touching my closet, I can clearly state whether or not I spent 1 hour on my closet organization and if I accomplished that task. If I fall behind schedule one week, I can still recover and meet my original due date of February 15th. Additionally, I can also track my expenses relatively easily if I go nuts at Target and spend $200 instead of $100 on closet organizers. I can also provide an update on how my project is going in terms of measurable metrics – I am on schedule to complete February 15th.
Wishing you a week of measurable milestones mamas!
Kristen Hall is a mother of one who lives in Rochester Hills Michigan with her husband and horse Charlie. She is a Project Manager by day and the Executive Director of Mother Honestly by night. You can find Kristen on Instagram as @mskristenhall