How to set up your new project for success

Animal Panel Series 1 arttally I start a new project every month. It's very exciting, but also a little scary.  This month I am painting a series of square mixed media panels that feature animals.  Last month it was flower faces on paper  (see the finished gallery here!)

On the first working day of each month I get a fresh start. Here are five ideas to consider so that you set up your new project for success.

1.Start with why.

Try and articulate for yourself exactly why your are doing this project. Being clear about your purpose will enable you to evaluate your progress more fairly.  It will be your guide post as you need to make decisions during the project. Simon Sinek explains that getting to the heart of why we do what we do is to tap into our own infinite source of inspiration and motivation.

2. The honeymoon phase

Enjoy the initial burst of enthusiasm that heralds the start of a new project. Celebrate it. Know that it is a part of the energy cycle of the project and it wont last. Anticipating this means you can try to avoid being disappointed that you didn't maintain your momentum or beat yourself up about it when the enthusiasm wanes.  But make the most of the initial excitement - it is the impetus that gets you started.

3. Identify your requirements and resources.

Usually we are pretty good at figuring out what we are going to require in terms of materials for a project. But there is more to consider in preparing your project for success. Don't overlook the project's requirements in terms of time and support. Be realistic about how much time you will need to put in as well as any time requirements for other team members. Consider the resources you have available. Access to a mentor for example, can be an important resource, as can access to other additional help such as substitute/alternate team members or alternate suppliers as a back up in case of emergency.

4. Baby steps

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Even the most daunting task can be made easier to approach by breaking it down into small achievable steps. Once you have an idea of the steps, you can measure your progress by measuring the process rather than results. Your chances of success are far greater if you can focus on your systems rather than just your ultimate goal.

5. Give yourself a buffer.

Nothing goes according to plan. Where would the fun be in that anyway? But when things go awry it can knock you off schedule. Be kind to yourself and build in a bit of extra time in your schedule to deal with the unforeseen.